Judge Bashes #62, Takes Sole Possession of AL and Yankees’ Home Run Record


Aaron Judge is now the American League and Yankee home run king. (Courtesy of Twitter)

In the first part of Tuesday’s day/night double-header against the Texas Rangers, New York Yankees’ slugger Aaron Judge popped up a hanging slider from Texas pitcher Jon Gray and threw his helmet down in frustration. He missed a prime opportunity to launch home run number 62 into the seats. The moment seemed to capture a build up of frustration. Judge was unable to break Roger Maris’ record at Yankee Stadium over the weekend, and was struggling to do clear damage against the Rangers. The man who has bet on himself all season long finally reached a point of visible discouragement. Just mere hours later, he finally connected on his very first at-bat of the night cap against Jesus Tinoco, and sent a slider straight over the left field wall of Globe Life Field.

The long ball certainly marks a major moment in baseball history. Aaron Judge has officially broken both the American League (AL) and Yankees’ single season Home Run records with one mammoth swing of the bat (or 62 swings to be more clinical). He has eclipsed marks set by Ruth and Maris. Names such as these, Reggie Jackson, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle were unable to top 61. The New York Yankees’ aspect of the formidable record is impressive enough, but to take the AL record is astounding. The Maris standard stood the test of time and was untouched for decades. David Ortiz, Jim Thome, Ken Griffey Jr. and Harmon Killebrew were not able to crack more than 61 homers in a single season. 

The new record will ultimately lead to discussions regarding the true home run king of baseball. Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were National League players that recorded higher numbers than Judge, but they each bear the stench of steroids. Regardless of how one chooses to assess these players’ holistic careers, there is undeniably an asterisk attached to their home run statistics. The kid from Linden, Calif. will not face the same scrutiny. He played it straight, and won the day. Many baseball pursuits, including Roger Maris Jr., will claim New York’s new favorite son is the true home run champion.

After a relieved Aaron Judge finished rounding the bases, his teammates came to greet him at the plate. The scene illustrated exactly what 2022 has been about for the pinstripe leader. Regardless of an impending contract dispute, or a wild home run chase, Judge plays to win alongside his teammates. He bet on himself, but never attempted to give his prosperity priority over that of the team’s. Judge’s words after being compared to Maris and Ruth say it all. 

“Those guys were winners. They were champions. Hopefully I can follow suit just like them.”

62 punches Aaron Judge’s personal ticket to baseball immortality, but he’s still striving to be an immortal leader and champion on the diamond. 62 home runs — an extraordinary record for an even more extraordinary player.