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Maris' son says Judge should be revered as true HR champ

Thomas Skrlj / Major League Baseball / Getty

If it were up to Roger Maris Jr., New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge would be considered the true single-season home run champ.

After Judge hit his 61st homer of the season to tie the American League record set by Maris' father in 1961, Maris said he believes Judge should be considered the overall record holder if he breaks his dad's mark.

"I think it means a lot. Not just for me, I think it means a lot for a lot of people," Maris said regarding Judge's record-tying effort Wednesday against the Toronto Blue Jays. "You know, that he's clean, that he's a Yankee, he plays the game the right way, and I think he gives people a chance to look at somebody who should be revered for hitting 62 homers 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 who he is if he hits 62. ... I think baseball needs to look at the records, and I think baseball needs to do something."

Asked if he considers Mark McGwire's and Barry Bonds' efforts illegitimate, he added, "I do, yeah. And I think most people do."

Maris' dad was the sole proprietor of the AL single-season home run record for 61 years, although it's since been broken numerous times. However, every player who's usurped the mark has been tied to performance-enhancing drugs and played in the NL.

McGwire, who was the first player to break Maris' record during the 1998 season, testified in congress that he used steroids. Despite forming numerous records, he's been held out of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Sammy Sosa, meanwhile, has continually denied using PEDs and was implicated in a 2009 New York Times report that's been largely dismissed as not credible. He's also been excluded from Cooperstown despite being the only player in MLB history to have three separate 60-homer seasons.

Finally, Bonds, who possesses the single-season record of 73 homers and the overall mark of 762 career home runs, has routinely been accused of using PEDs. The seven-time MVP never failed a random test and denied ever using PEDs but was heavily implicated by a grand jury in the BALCO investigation, which resulted in his indictment for perjury and obstruction of justice.

This past winter, Bonds officially fell off of the Baseball Writer's Association of America Hall of Fame ballot after missing the requisite 75% support threshold for the 10th consecutive year.

While some admonish McGwire, Sosa, and Bonds as cheaters, they're all officially considered ahead of both Maris' dad and Judge - who are now tied for seventh - on the single-season homer list by MLB record books.

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