Last night Aaron Judge hit his 61st home run of the 2022 season and tied Roger Maris for the American League single-season home run record. The momentous blast over the leftfield wall in Toronto occurred in the top of the seventh inning against Blue Jay lefty Tim Mayza. The home run propelled the Yankees to an 8-3 victory over the Blue Jays.
Judge’s home run ironically came 61 years after the Maris record which was set in 1961. The ball bounced back onto the playing field where it was retrieved and given to Judge. He in turn gave the historic baseball to his mom in a touching moment.
This historic event has specific meaning for me. As a nine-year-old I was fortunate enough to attend the game in 1961 where Maris hit his 61st. Pictured above is the ticket stub from that game that my brother saved. Back then our dad made it his mission to take us to at least one Yankee game every year. The trek over to Yankee Stadium from New Jersey wasn’t always an easy one especially for my dad who worked in construction and the summer and early fall were extremely busy for him. But we made it to that game. The last game of the 1961 season. And it will forever be etched in our memories.
Congrats to Aaron Judge for his tremendous achievement and to Roger Maris for all the memories. And thanks, dad.
Last night Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees became only the sixth major leaguer to hit or surpass 60 home runs in a single season.
Only Babe Ruth, Roger Maris, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds have accomplished that incredible feat.
Babe Ruth had 60 home runs in 1927 with the Yankees.
Roger Maris 61 in 1961 with the Yankees.
Mark McGwire 70 in 1998 and 65 in 1999 with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Sammy Sosa 66 in 1998, 63 in 1999 and 64 in 2001 with the Chicago Cubs.
Barry Bonds has the Major League record with 73 which he hit in 2001 with the San Francisco Giants.
Judge now holds the American League single season record for most home runs by a right-handed batter. Jimmy Foxx hit 58 for the Philadelphia Athletics and Hank Greenberg had 58 in 1938 for the Detroit Tigers.
Although the 60-home run mark has been a milestone for nearly a century those who have achieved it have done so with a certain amount of controversy.
Ruth achieved his feat during an era when some of the greatest baseball players were not allowed to play in the major leagues due to racial segregation.
Maris reached 60 home runs only after the majors extended the season from 154 games to 162. Thus, giving him more games than Ruth.
McGwire, Sosa and Bonds all reached the 60-home run mark during the steroid era. McGwire has admitted that he used steroids to improve his power numbers. Though there is much evidence to the contrary Sosa and Bonds have not admitted steroid use.
To this point Judge’s pursuit of the single season home run record has been met with tremendous excitement and no controversy. We’ll see how far he goes. I for one will be rooting for him.