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No one has hit 60 home runs in a season in 21 years Aaron Judge did it on tuesday night.
Judge’s blast made him the sixth man in MLB history to hit 60 in a season and just the ninth all-time. He joined Roger Morris and Babe Ruth as the only yankees perform a feat.
Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire were the last three players to accomplish the feat, but all three were linked to performance-enhancing drugs, so many would argue that Judge is the first person to do it cleanly since Maris in 1961 .
Maris hit 61 that year – Judge’s next two homers would tie and break that American League record.
But for now he is 60, and as modest as he is, he embraces the moment.
“I don’t think about numbers. When you talk about Ruth and Maurice and [Mickey] Mantle and all these great Yankees who have done so many great things in this game, you never imagine as a kid being mentioned with them,” Judge said after the game. “It’s an incredible honor and something I I am frivolous. “
Judge’s home run came when the Yankees were down by four runs in the bottom of the ninth. It seemed kind of pointless at the time. But little did everyone know that it was the catalyst for the Yankees’ best comeback win of the season, as they scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth for a walk-off grand slam. Giancarlo Stanton beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-8.
Umpire awkwardly, reluctantly took a curtain call when he reached 60 (ironically, so did Maris when he broke the record), but now that it’s a win, he can celebrate a little more.
“That’s what I wanted to do,” he said. “I didn’t really think about numbers or statistics or anything like that. I was just trying to go out there and help my team win. It was a solo shot in the ninth at the time and still down by a couple of runs, but this team, we’ve always had a never-say-die, fight-to-the-last attitude, and I’ve got four guys with great at-bats, back-to-back against a great closer, it’s makes it so much sweeter. That’s for sure.”
In the sixth inning, Judge struck out with the bases loaded on a chance at 60, ending the game in the process. His initial thought when he turned 60 was that he wished it had happened in this battle instead.
“(My reaction was) like, ‘hell, I wish I could do that with the bases loaded a little earlier in the game.’ I was a little upset with myself,” he joked.
Not only does the 30-year-old lead baseball in homers, but he also leads the majors in RBIs (128), on-base percentage (.419), slugging percentage (.703), total bases (372) and runs scored (123). His .316 batting average is also the best in the American League, giving him the Triple Crown for now. He also leads the AL with 93 walks.
Judge retrieved the ball from the fan who caught it, who was with three friends who met Judge. The fan who caught him got an autographed bat and his friends each got an autographed ball.
But maybe they got the short end of the stick. Some auctioneers believed the ball could fetch six figures 62 can break records.
Now, Judge will try to tie up, break down and smash Maris as the Yankees inch closer to the AL East division title.