MLB

Yankees Star Judge Hits 62nd Homer To Break Maris’ AL Record

Oct 4, 2022, 6:58 PM
Aaron Judge - Yankees...
Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees smiles as he rounds the bases after hitting his 62nd home run of the season against the Texas Rangers during the first inning in game two of a double header at Globe Life Field on October 4, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. Judge has now set the American League record for home runs in a single season. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Aaron Judge hit his 62nd home run of the season Tuesday night, breaking Roger Maris’ American League record and setting what some fans consider baseball’s “clean” standard.

The 30-year-old Yankees slugger drove a 1-1 slider from Texas right-hander Jesús Tinoco into the first row of seats in left field when leading off the second game of New York’s day-night doubleheader.

After No. 99 took a smooth, mighty swing, he had a wide smile on his face as he rounded the bases and his Yankees teammates streamed out of the dugout to celebrate with him. They stayed away from home plate, letting Judge step on it before sharing hugs and high-fives.

Judge’s mother and father were in the stands to see Judge end a five-game homerless streak, including Game 1 of the doubleheader when he was 1 for 5 with a single.

The ball was caught by a fan in Section 31, who was then taken with security to have the ball authenticated.

Another fan was escorted away after leaping out of the seats into a gap between the seats and the left-field wall.

Maris’ 61 for the Yankees in 1961 had been exceeded six times previously, but all were tainted by the stench of steroids. Mark McGwire hit 70 for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998 and 65 the following year. Barry Bonds hit an MLB-record 73 for the San Francisco Giants in 2001, and the Chicago Cubs’ Sammy Sosa had 66, 65 and 63 during a four-season span starting in 1998.

McGwire admitted using banned steroids, while Bonds and Sosa denied knowingly using performing-enhancing drugs. Major League Baseball started testing with penalties for PEDs in 2004, and some fans — perhaps many — until now have considered Maris as holder of the legitimate record.

A Ruthian figure with a smile as outsized as his body, the 6-foot-7 Judge has rocked the major leagues with a series of deep drives that hearken to the sepia tone movie reels of his legendary pinstriped predecessors.

“He should be revered for being the actual single-season home run champ,” Roger Maris Jr. said Wednesday night after his father’s mark was matched by Judge. “I think baseball needs to look at the records and I think baseball should do something.”

Judge had homered only once in the past 13 games, and that was when he hit No. 61 last Wednesday in Toronto. The doubleheader nightcap in Texas was his 55th game in row played since Aug. 5.

Judge was 3 for 17 with five walks and a hit by pitch since moving past the 60 home runs Babe Ruth hit in 1927, which had stood as the major league record for 34 years. Maris hit his 61st off Boston’s Tracy Stallard at old Yankee Stadium on Oct. 1, 1961.

Judge has a chance to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012. He leads the AL with 131 RBIs and began the day trailing Minnesota’s Luis Arraez, who was hitting .315.

The home run in his first at-bat put him back to .311, where he had started the day before dropping a point in the opener.

Judge’s accomplishment will cause endless debate.

“To me, the holder of the record for home runs in a season is Roger Maris,” author George Will said earlier this month. “There’s no hint of suspicion that we’re seeing better baseball than better chemistry in the case of Judge. He’s clean. He’s not doing something that forces other players to jeopardize their health.”
___
AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.
___
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

MLB

Aaron Judge - Yankees 2...
Associated Press

Fan Who Caught Aaron Judge’s 62nd HR Offered $2M For Ball

The owner of a sports memorabilia auction house says he has offered $2 million to the fan who caught Aaron Judge's American League-record 62nd home run.
4 months ago
President-Joe-Biden-White-House-Atlanta-Braves-MLB...
Aamer Madhani and Colleen Long, AP

Biden Praises Braves’ ‘Unstoppable, Joyful Run’ To 2021 Win

President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win.
4 months ago
Albert-Pujols-St-Louis-Cardinals-Los-Angeles-Dodgers-700-home-runs...
Beth Harris, AP

Pujols Hits 700th Home Run, Joining Baseball Greats In Exclusive Club

Albert Pujols hits 700th home run, joining baseball greats Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth in exclusive club.
4 months ago
cj-cron-swings-bat...
Brian Preece

Instant Replay: Former Ute Hits MLB’s Longest Home Run Of Season

Former Utah first baseman C.J. Cron continued his career year with a titanic blast that landed more than 500 feet from home plate.
5 months ago
MLB-baseball...
Ronald Blum, AP

MLB Adopts Pitch Clock, Shift Limits, Bigger Bases for 2023

MLB adopted its first pitch clock, limits on defensive shifts and larger bases for 2023 in an effort to shorten games and increase offense.
5 months ago
bees-pitcher-michael-lorenzen-finishes-delivery...
Brian Preece

Bees Bullets: Rainiers Thump Salt Lake As Bees Can’t Score

The Bees anemic offense continues to struggle as they lose four of six games at home to fall into a third place tie with Tacoma.
5 months ago
Yankees Star Judge Hits 62nd Homer To Break Maris’ AL Record