New York Yankees superstar Aaron Judge crushed his 61st home run of the season during Wednesday night’s game 8-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
AARON JUDGE HITS HOME RUN NO. 61! ⚾️💣🏆
Here's how it looked and sounded with Michael Kay on the Yankees broadcast call for YES Network: pic.twitter.com/gkKDwTWc68
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) September 29, 2022
With 61 homers, Judge ties former Yankees star Roger Maris for the single-season American League record. Maris hit 61 homers in 1961, and that stood as the all-time major-league record until Mark McGwire hit 70 homers in 1998 (Sammy Sosa also hit 66 homers that season). In 2001, Barry Bonds set the new MLB record with 73 homers.
However, McGwire and Bonds used performance-enhancing drugs (Sosa has consistently denied using PEDs, but The New York Times reported in 2009 that he tested positive in 2003). So, many baseball fans have put an asterisk next to those records and have still viewed Maris as the true single-season home run king, at least until Judge’s remarkable 2022 season came along.
Maris’ son, Roger Maris Jr., was in attendance at Rogers Centre to witness Judge hit No. 61. He congratulated Judge after the game.
Mom and Maris Jr. react to 61 💙 pic.twitter.com/3jSfiqF0Tc
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 29, 2022
Aaron Judge hugs his mom, then shakes hands with Roger Maris, Jr. pic.twitter.com/YZpuYeydXe
— John Chandler (@JohnChandlerNBC) September 29, 2022
Then Maris spoke with the media, and he was asked what his opinion would be on who deserves to be the home run champion if Judge reaches No. 62.
Maris said, “[Judge] should be revered for being the actual single-season home run champ. That’s really who he is if he hits 62. I think that’s what needs to happen. I think baseball needs to look at the records, and I think baseball should do something.”
“I think it means a lot, not just for me. I think it means a lot for a lot of people. That, [Judge is] clean, he’s a Yankee, he plays the game the right way,” Maris added.
Roger Maris Jr. on Aaron Judge: "He should be revered for being the actual single-season home run champ. That's really who he is if he hits 62." pic.twitter.com/0uCipHHJkU
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) September 29, 2022
Maris was asked if he views the McGwire and Bonds home run records as illegitimate: “I do. I think most people do.”
Roger Maris Jr. said that if Aaron Judge hits 62 home runs, he should be celebrated as the single-season home run champ.
Asked if he considers Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire illegitimate, Maris said: "I do. I think most people do."
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) September 29, 2022
Roger Maris Jr. says if Aaron Judge hits No. 62 then he is the legitimate single-season HR record holder. Does not consider McGwire/Sosa/Bonds legitimate
— Brandon Wile (@Brandon_N_Wile) September 29, 2022
This is a debate that will go on for a long, long time among baseball fans- or at least until somebody — viewed as “clean” — hits 74 home runs.
Judge has seven games remaining in the regular season — the Yankees will be in the postseason after already winning the AL East — to try to reach home run No. 62 and beyond.