Updated: Apr 29
Nick Saylor, Staff Writer
Aaron Judge elevates his 61st home run of the season in the seventh inning of Wednesday's game. Photo//Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY SPORTS
Roger Maris, Babe Ruth, Aaron Judge. Yes, you can now mention Judge’s name in the same breath as those other New York Yankee legends.
In 1927, Ruth set the American League single-season home run record with 60 homers. In 1961, Maris clobbered one more than Ruth did, dubbing Maris the single-season home run king. Now Judge, attempting to create history during his MVP-esque season, tied up Maris on Wednesday night in dramatic fashion.
Judge has taken the MLB community by storm over the past five years. With majestic home run after majestic home run, Judge has been a household name on top of the home run leaderboard ever since he has been the full time right fielder of the Yankees.
Yankees fans adore him so much that they have the “Judge’s Chambers” out in right field to commemorate his efforts towards the franchise.
Along with the home run race, Judge is also fighting for the triple crown, which has not been done since Miguel Cabrera did it in 2012. Before Cabrera, one would have to date back to 1967 when Frank Robinson accomplished the feat.
To win a triple crown, a player needs to lead their respective league in batting average, home runs, and RBIs (Runs Batted In). As Judge leads in home runs by 22 and RBIs by eight, those two categories are all but locked up and everyone’s eyes are now turned to the average race. As of Sunday night, Luis Arraez of the Minnesota Twins leads the league with a .315 average; Judge trails with a .311 average. With four games left, Judge will try to conserve his at bats and limit his recorded outs as the regular season closes.
Everyone's focus on Wednesday night was to see #61. As Judge walked up to the plate in the seventh inning of a tied game, he did his usual routine as the crowd rose to their feet. Taps both his cleats and strolls up to the box, glaring back at his teammates for a split second to take the possible historic at-bat fully in.
Every pitch of the at-bat got a loud reaction from the crowd. Every person in the Rogers Centre had their mind on one thing. As phones were out and flashes filled the stands, Blue Jays reliever Tim Mayza delivered a full count fastball to Judge. The sound of the bat told us all immediately - It had happened.
117.4 MPH of velocity was put into the ball as it flew through the Canadian air. As it hit its peak, it came down 394-feet from home plate, just out of the reach of a nearby restaurant owner's glove. He really missed out on a payday as the ball was reported to be worth about $250,000.
As Judge strolled around the bases, he took it in through second base then immediately locked his eyes on his mother, who was attending the game along with Roger Maris Jr. Judge high fived his third base coach Phil Nevin as he hit home plate and headed into a sea of hugs from his teammates.
When the hugs conclude, Judge acknowledges his mother, Patty and Maris Jr.. Both embraced in a hug as Aaron rounded the bases to complete the moment.
Aaron Judge hugs his mother Patty after Wednesday night's game. Photo//Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post
With this record being tied, Judge has a chance to break it with four games remaining. However, a question has often been asked. Barry Bonds hit 73 home runs in a season, why is Judge the leader with 61?
That, in my opinion, is one of the most ethical issues to debate in terms of MLB. Sammy Sosa, Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire, and Barry Bonds are infamous home run hitters that have hit more home runs than Judge. However, their use of steroids and MLB’s impact to stop other players’ steroid use indefinitely has taken their names off of the list, as they are not eligible for the Hall of Fame as well.
Judge did it off pure hard work, dedication, and the right way. He is a class act on and off the field. A true face of baseball. As the Yankees head into their final series of the regular season, Aaron Judge will need to be on his game if he wants another taste of history.