Judge breaks Maris' AL record with 62nd HR of season
Aaron Judge is the new single-season American League home run king.
The New York Yankees outfielder hit his 62nd homer to lead off the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Texas Rangers, breaking Roger Maris' franchise and AL record that had stood since 1961.
Rangers right-hander Jesus Tinoco now becomes the answer to a dubious trivia question, surrendering the record-breaking solo bomb.
Upon watching No. 62 sail into the seats, the Yankees dugout immediately erupted, with every player coming out to meet Judge at home plate:
Judge also earned kudos from lifelong Yankees superstar and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter:
Maris' AL record stood for 61 years before Judge surpassed him.
"In my book, it's just another day," Judge said after the game, according to the Associated Press.
While the prolific slugger wouldn't sing his own praises, he added that he felt "quite a few emotions" while rounding the bases and thinking of his family.
While Judge has sole possession of the AL milestone, he's well shy of the overall record held by Barry Bonds, who hit 73 homers in 2001. Judge, who was removed in the second inning, has Wednesday's season finale at Globe Life Field to continue climbing the list.
The four-time All-Star and two-time Silver Slugger now owns the seventh-most prolific homer season ever and sits behind only three other hitters:
|2||Mark McGwire (1998)||70|
|3||Sammy Sosa (1998)||66|
|4||Mark McGwire (1999)||65|
|5||Sammy Sosa (2001)||64|
|6||Sammy Sosa (1999)||63|
Judge is a pending free agent after notably turning down a seven-year, $213.5-million contract before the season began. The presumptive AL MVP pledged not to negotiate during the campaign.
Perhaps even more amazingly, Judge is chasing the first Triple Crown since Miguel Cabrera in 2012. On top of leading in homers, his 131 RBIs place him first in the AL, and his .311 batting average ranks second to Luis Arraez (.315).
While Judge's mother, Patty, and Roger Maris Jr. were in the crowd when Judge tied the record in Toronto, Judge's father and wife also attended Tuesday's contest.
After Judge tied the record last week, Roger Jr. said he'd anoint the slugger as MLB's true home run king if he managed to get to 62, discrediting the records set by Sosa, McGwire, and Bonds as tainted by steroids. The three sluggers never tested positive or were suspended but have all been linked to performance-enhancing drugs. McGwire testified in congress that he used steroids, and a grand jury indicted Bonds for perjury and obstruction of justice in the BALCO investigation.
The Yankees have already secured a first-round bye in the playoffs with the second-best record in the AL. They'll face the winner of a three-game series between the Cleveland Guardians and Tampa Bay Rays played entirely at Progressive Field from Oct. 7-9. New York will host Games 1, 2, and 5 (if necessary) of the ALDS at Yankee Stadium.