New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge began the week needing four homer runs to set MLB's single-season rookie HR record.
Mission accomplished. For the second straight day, Judge homered twice...this time hitting numbers 49 and 50 in his team’s 11-3 win over the Kansas City Royals. Judge's second home run of the game broke the rookie record set of 49 by Mark McGwire in 1987.
The Yankees have now won 16 of their last 22 games and secured at least a wild card slot in the post season..
The lucky fan who caught Judge's record breaking home run is Dan Zlotnick, a former Somers High School baseball star.
Zlotnick caught the record-setting dinger during the bottom of the seventh inning. of the Yankees' 11-3 win over the Kansas City Royals. The ball first landed in a section of seats below where Zlotnick was positioned in the left-center field bleachers. However, it appeared to carom off a seat and bounce into the bleachers behind the visiting bullpen.
Zlotnick rushed as fans raced for the ball the ball when it came right to him. "I just picked it up off the stairs. It wasn't a clear catch by any means. It just kind of rolled to me. There were a million people going for it and it kicked out right to me. I've choked a lot of baseballs in my life. I don't think I've ever held one that tight."
Zlotnick posted a picture (below) on social media. Moments later, a member of the Yankees security staff met with him and offered to hold the ball so Zlotnick could enjoy the rest of the game. He never planned to keep the ball or demand anything in return from Judge and the Yankees.
"I never thought I would hold onto it and hold out for $50,000 or squeeze what I could out of the Yankees," Zlotnick said. "Being a baseball player, I knew what that meant to him. I was happy to give it to him."
Zlotnick later tweeted, "For those wondering if I will sell @TheJudge44's 50th HR ball, absolutely not. It's his. Congratulations to him."
The Yankees never offered him anything other than the autographs. However, Zlotnick, a musician, did ask if he could play the National Anthem at a future game. During his high school years, Zlotnick played the National Anthem on his guitar at local events, including Somers football games.
After the meet-and-greet with Judge on Monday, Zlotnick and Laurino received a tour of the Yankee clubhouse and were allowed to walk on the field. They texted McCarthy, a relief pitcher for the Royals, who joined them on the field.
Zlotnick starred on three straight Section 1 championship teams at Somers. He was a pitcher and center fielder who most notably threw shutouts in consecutive championship games.
Zlotnick hopes this will bring attention to his acoustic folk-rock music at gigs in New York City and the Hudson Valley. He still lives in Somers and is an assistant coach on the varsity baseball team.
Source: NYY Yankees/lohud.com