A 61-Year-Old Baseball Record Has Been Broken

Aaron Judge breaks Roger Maris' record with 62nd home run of the season
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 29, 2022 1:00 AM CDT
Updated Oct 4, 2022 8:44 PM CDT
A Yankee Makes Historic Swing
New York Yankees' Aaron Judge hits a two-run home run, his 61st homer of the season, during the seventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday.   (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)

Update: 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 AP reports. 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. Our original story from Sept. 29 follows:

Aaron Judge tied Roger Maris’ American League record of 61 home runs in a season, going deep for the New York Yankees against the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night. The 30-year-old slugger drove a belt-high sinker off Tim Mayza over the left-field fence in the seventh inning at Rogers Centre in Toronto, per the AP. The two-run drive, which put the Yankees ahead 5-3, clanked off the front of the stands and dropped into Toronto's bullpen. (The Yankees won, 8-3.) Judge's mother and Roger Maris Jr. rose and hugged from front-row seats. He appeared to point toward them after rounding second base, then was congratulated by the entire Yankees team as he crossed home plate.

Judge moved past the 60 home runs Babe Ruth hit in 1927, which had stood as the major league mark until Maris broke it in 1961. Maris' mark has been exceeded six times in the National League, but all have been tainted by the stench of steroids. Mark McGwire hit 70 home runs for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998 and 65 the following year, and Barry Bonds topped him with the current record of 73 in 2001. Sammy Sosa had 66, 65, and 63 during a four-season span starting in 1998. Major League Baseball started testing with penalties for performance-enhancing drugs in 2004, and many fans have considered Maris the holder of the “clean" record.

Judge is hitting .314 with 130 RBIs, also the top totals in the AL. He has a chance to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012. As he approached his last season before free agent eligibility, Judge on opening day turned down the Yankees’ offer of an eight-year contract worth from $230.5 million to $234.5 million. The proposal included an average of $30.5 million annually from 2023-29. An agreement was reached in June on a $19 million, one-year deal, and Judge heads into this offseason likely to get a contract from the Yankees or another team for $300 million or more, perhaps topping $400 million.

(Read more Aaron Judge stories.)

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