The American League has a new single-season home run king.
New York Yankees star Aaron Judge started his 62nd home run of the season on the road against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, breaking the AL record he shared with Roger Maris.
After Judge put a Tim Mayza sinker in the Toronto Blue Jays’ bullpen last Wednesday to tie Maris’ mark, Judge missed a home run during the Yankees’ last homestand of the regular season — a three-game streak against the Baltimore Orioles. Back on the road, Judge, who went 2-for-9 with two singles in two games against the Rangers in Game 1 of Tuesday’s doubleheader, took Texas pitcher Jesus Tinoco deep in the first inning of the nightcap to move up to 62nd place reach.
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The Yankees gathered to meet Judge on home plate after the home run, and he removed his helmet as he walked back to the dugout to greet the fans. When he entered the field at the end of the inning, he again received a standing ovation.
“It would have been nice to score at home in front of the home fans but at the end of the day I have a job to do,” Judge said on Sunday.
The record-breaking home run came three days after the 61st anniversary of the day Maris’ 61st home run surpassed the legendary Babe Ruth.
“[It is an] Honor to have the chance to be associated with Maris,” Judge said Wednesday after being forever linked with the Yankees legend as he was the only player in franchise history to hit 61 home runs. “I can’t even describe it. It’s a great honor to know what Maris did in this game. Getting a chance to tie Roger Maris is what you dream of.”
Only Barry Bonds (73), Mark McGwire (70, 65) and Sammy Sosa (66, 64, 63) rank ahead of Judge on MLB’s single-season home runs list. But while Judge holds the AL record, Mari’s son Roger Maris Jr. said this week that he believes Judge should be recognized as the true “home run king.”
Maris’ mark was the all-time MLB record until McGwire surpassed it in 1998 with 70. Bonds surpassed McGwire in 2001 with an official baseball record of 73 home runs in a season. But Maris Jr. belittled the performances of the two thugs who were at their peak during the so-called steroid era.
“He’s playing the game right,” Maris Jr. said of Judge earlier this week. “And I think it gives people a chance to look at someone who should be revered for hitting 62 home runs, and not just a guy who made it in the American League, but who actually hit the home run champion of a season. That’s who he is. It’s 62 and I think that’s what needs to happen.
Judge, who grew up a Giants fan about half an hour east of San Francisco, has said he believes Bonds’ 73 homers is the legal one-year mark.
New York manager Aaron Boone said he feels privileged to have had a front row seat in baseball history.
“The story of this game is one of its calling cards,” Boone said. “The number 61. I’ve known that number all my life. I think one thing that makes our sport a little bit more special than the others is the history of everything. We make history really well. And that’s been a year and a season where we’re in the middle of one of those magical historical moments, and that comes with a number, and that’s pretty neat.”
The Yankees will go into the postseason as the No. 2 pick in the American League. They will wrap up the regular season in Texas on Wednesday.
https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/34727723/new-york-yankees-star-aaron-judge-launches-62nd-home-run-sets-al-single-season-record New York Yankees star Aaron Judge launches 62nd home run, sets AL’s single-season record