Wham! The crowd sends into a blistering roar as New York Yankees star outfielder Aaron Judge just hit his 61st home run of the season to tie the great Roger Maris home run record of 61 in a season, tying the AL record of home runs in a season. He helped lead the Yankees to an 8-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays that saw Judge score two runs and accumulate two RBIs along with his homer in the seventh inning with the teams tied at three apiece and that gave the Yankees the momentum throughout the rest of the game to score four more runs.
Maris’s son, Roger Maris Jr. had high praise for Judge: "I think it means a lot, not just for me, I think it means a lot for a lot of people," he explained. "He’s clean, he’s a Yankee, he plays the game the right way. I think it gives people a chance to look at somebody who should be revered for hitting 62 home runs and not just as a guy who did it in the American League. He should be revered for being the actual single-season home run champ. That’s really who he is if he hits 62 and I think that’s what needs to happen. I think baseball needs to look at the records and I think baseball should do something."
Of course, the “he’s clean” is a shot at guys like Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, and Barry Bonds, who the MLB has recorded down in the history book as having the single-season home run record but were on steroids (PEDs) throughout part of his career that causes some to be skeptic of him being labeled as the official home run king.
Judge’s magical season has him on pace to be put in the historic triple crown club with baseball luminaries such as another fellow Yankee in Mickey Mantle who accomplished such a feat in 1956 with a .353 batting average, 52 home runs, and 130 RBIs. Other players to achieve such an achievement are Lou Gehrig (1934), who is another legendary Yankee to achieve the honor, Frank Robinson (1966) of the Baltimore Orioles, and Ted Williams (1942 and ‘47) as a member of the Boston Red Sox.
There were others as well such as Joe Medwick of the St. Louis Cardinals (1937) or Chuck Klein of the Philadelphia Phillies (1933). Judge is having a remarkable batting season with a .313 batting average, 61 home runs, and 130 RBIs thus far, but he has stiff competition for the batting average title as Minnesota Twins All-Star slugger Luis Arraez is right on his trail with a batting average of .313321 to Judge’s .313406.
Judge's magical season doesn’t stop there as the Yankees just recently celebrated clinching their division in the AL East after Wednesday’s win over the Blue Jays. With about seven games to go in the regular season before the Wild Card games for the postseason are set to begin on October 7, do you think Judge can become the single-season home run king? That is of course if you neglect Bonds.
What makes Judge’s season even more impressive is he doing it with more pressure of playing in a contract year where he is currently making $19 million for the season, according to Spotrac https://www.spotrac.com/mlb/new-york-yankees/aaron-judge-18499/. His play this season has inflated his value to an absurd level after producing such a historic season that can see him get a deal potentially worth up to $300 million.
With the postseason quickly approaching can the two-time Silver Slugger and potential triple crown winner help lead the Yankees to a World Series title? And how much will the Yankees be willing to pay Judge after a phenomenal season? Questions we will have to wait to be answered in the coming months.