Albert Pujols hit his 698th career home run tonight, and he graciously encourages fans not to worry about returning baseballs.[1] Inflation-adjusted, the last 700th career home run baseball sold for over $1M USD[2] Players average ~3 at-bats per game[3], leading to ~30% chance Pujols hits at least one HR each game he plays lately: 3 HRs on 33 AB last 10 games, 20 HRs on 146 AB since July 1 (54 games)

Expected revenue from auctioning the ball is now hundreds of thousands per game

Current cheapest outfield ticket prices before fees by city for the rest of their season:

  • St. Louis:        $45         (41k / 45k - avg attendance[4] / capacity[5])
  • San Diego:     $30         (37k / 43k)
  • LA Dodgers:  $30         (48k / 56k)
  • Milwaukee:   $10          (31k / 42k)
  • Pittsburgh:   $20          (16k / 38k)

Since the vast majority of seats aren't outfield seats[6], the expected value for the minority in all the outfield seats still seems like hundreds of thousands per game even after ticket costs, so you should consider them if you don't mind going:

Other considerations that slightly alter your chances of making a catch:

  • Pujols got moved up in the hitting lineup for more ABs[7]
  • Home run odds vary slightly by stadium[8][9]
  • Average MLB fan is almost 60 years old[10]
  • Go easy on drinks and bring gloves :)
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Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 10:03 AM

I think "cost effective way to fundraise" is probably a stretch, and that this would likely have been better as a shortform, but I wanted to stop in and say the post made me smile, because I think it's a fun example of how you can get a bunch of EV by being risk neutral and thinking outside the box, so thanks for writing it!

I'm a bit confused by all the drive by downvotes of someone sharing a quickly sketched out plausible-sounding idea.

I think we'd be better off of we encouraged this sort of thing rather than discouraged it, at least until there actually seems to be a problem with too many half baked novel ideas being posted - if people disagree I'd like to know why.

Similar estimates can also be made for Aaron Judge's single season AL HR record