Aaron Judge, a star of the New York Yankees, tied Roger Maris’ American League record on Wednesday night against the Toronto Blue Jays with his 61st home run of the year.
Babe Ruth’s single-season record of 60 home runs set in 1927 was surpassed by Maris, who didn’t smash his 61st home run until the final game of the 1961 season on October 1.
Judge did it on September 28 in Game 155 for New York. A day after the Yankees successfully defended their American League East crown, Judge, the designated hitter, blasted Tim Mayza of Toronto for a home run in the seventh inning with a runner on base. Judge had gone seven games without a home run since hitting a single drive during New York’s 6-0 homestand. He walked in his first at-bat, popped out in his second, then grounded out in his third.
The Yankees and he later travelled to Toronto in an effort to establish history at Rogers Centre. In the first game of the series on Monday, he went 1-for-3 with a single. In the game on Tuesday that decided the division, he walked four times before finally hitting the historic home run on Wednesday in the Yankees’ 8-3 triumph. His ecstatic teammates were waiting for him outside the dugout when he had finished rounding the bases.
Following the game, Judge was congratulated by home plate umpire Brian O’Nora in front of the Yankees’ dugout and given the official lineup card for the evening.
When he hit the ball, Judge claimed he wasn’t sure if it would result in a home run or an out. But as it over the fence, he said he felt “relief,” realising the Yankees were ahead.
Judge said, “Getting a chance to tie Roger Maris is the kind of thing you dream about, it’s unreal”.
For the select few who have attained such home run heights, the seven-game home runless streak was an unusual occurrence. Four of the previous seven times a player hit 61 home runs, they did it the game after hitting 60, and none took more than three games to achieve the milestone.
Roger Maris Jr. and Judge’s mother, Patty, were seated in the first row on top of the Yankees dugout when Judge eventually made it there in the series finale. And as of right now, only three players have hit more home runs in a season in MLB history: Barry Bonds (73), Mark McGwire (70, 65), and Sammy Sosa (66, 64, 63). All three did so during the steroid era (1998 to 2001).
“It appeared to be just the two of us. It was just a really enjoyable time spent together “Gerrit Cole, the Yankees’ starting pitcher, described the celebration. “We’re all so proud of him, and know how hard he works. He wants to keep it low key, but boy, does he deserve it .”
In a post-game press conference, Maris Jr. stated that he would be returning to Yankee Stadium this coming week as Judge takes a swing at pitch No. 62.
“I don’t think it’s going to take very long,” he said. “I think he’s loose. I think the party last night, the celebration, loosened him up. … You can tell that he’s back, and he’s ready to go now.”
Aaron Boone, Judge’s manager, believes that the Yankees slugger’s 2022 tear has been achieved without any indication that he has utilised performance-enhancing substances, which puts the outfielder’s stats above those of the competitors.
According to Boone, “I think it puts it a notch above,” last week. “I got to believe it’s right there with some of the best very short list of all-time seasons. I go back to the context of the season, and the more I look at it and dive into it, it’s got to be an all-time great season.”
Maris Junior agreed.
“He’s clean. He’s a Yankee. He plays the game the right way,” Maris Jr. said. “And he gives people a chance to look at somebody who should be revered.”
Many people believe that Maris’ 61 home runs set the “clean” record. Bonds’ talents are not undervalued by Judge, a native of Northern California who has labelled Bonds “the greatest hitter of all time.”
Judge, a graduate of Linden High School in San Joaquin County, roughly an hour and a half east of the San Francisco Bay, stated, “That’s the record.” “I watched him do it. I stayed up late watching him do it. That’s the record. No one can take that from him.”
For his part, Bonds predicted over the weekend that after hitting his 61st home run, Judge might start a home run streak. During Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN2, Bonds noted, “Trying to get to that 61 is the hardest one.
Next month, the Yankees are aiming for more memorable events. New York appears poised for the No. 2 postseason seed in the American League, behind the Houston Astros, despite at times seeming like they’d sprint away from the pack before limping through August. First since 2019 and the 20th overall in team history, New York won the division.
More than simply home runs helped to the victory, and Judge was a significant factor. He was the AL leader in hitting average, home runs, and RBIs heading into Wednesday’s game as he attempts to become the third Yankees player to capture the Triple Crown (Lou Gehrig in 1934, Mickey Mantle in 1956).
“He’s as beloved as they become,” Boone said. “Everyone is just so excited for him, and — because Aaron is the way he is — everyone feels a part of it. And that’s who he is as a teammate.”
The Yankees led 6-3 going into the bottom of the inning thanks to Judge’s home run. The ball bounced into the Toronto bullpen before being collected by Blue Jays bullpen coach Matt Buschmann.
“This is pretty awesome, setting up now for an amazing atmosphere in the Bronx,” Boone said. “It’s been a good script so far.”
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