Judge's 61st HR ties Roger Maris for AL record
Aaron Judge belted his 61st home run of the year to tie Roger Maris for both the American League and the New York Yankees' single-season record Wednesday against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre.
The momentous two-run dinger was hit off Jays left-hander Tim Mayza, putting the Yankees ahead 5-3 in the top of the seventh inning. It ended a seven-game homer-less drought for Judge as MLB fans across the league awaited the historic achievement.
Maris hit 61 homers in 1961, which was the most by any player in MLB at the time. Maris' mark stood as the record until National League sluggers Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire both broke it in 1998. Barry Bonds later toppled both of them in 2001, hitting 73.
Judge's 2022 campaign now sits tied for seventh all time on the single-season homer list:
The presumptive AL MVP has seven remaining games to continue setting the new high mark in the Junior Circuit and chase down the steroid-era titans.
Maris' son, Roger Jr., as well as Judge's mother, Patty, were in attendance for the iconic dinger and shared an embrace from their seats behind the dugout.
"I'm nothing without my family," Judge said postgame. "Getting to share this moment with my mom and also try to give a little nod to Roger Maris Jr., it means a lot that he shows up here."
Judge's monumental accomplishment comes one day after the Yankees clinched the AL East crown and a first-round bye in the playoffs. A number of regular starters got the day off Wednesday, but Judge insisted to manager Aaron Boone that he wanted to play.
The 30-year-old four-time All-Star is a pending free agent. He famously turned down a seven-year, $213.5-million extension before the campaign got underway and pledged to not negotiate in-season.
Now, not only is Judge closing in on AL homer supremacy, but he also has a legitimate chance to win the Triple Crown. He currently leads the Junior Circuit with 130 RBIs and a .313 batting average.
The Yankees won the game 8-3. Judge had one more at-bat in the eighth inning with an attempt to break the record but ultimately grounded out.