YANKEES slugger Aaron Judge tied the American League (AL) home run record when he socked his 61st of the season on Wednesday night in New York’s road game against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Mr. Judge hit a two-run shot against Blue Jays left-hander Tim Mayza in the seventh inning, giving the Yankees a 5-3 lead. The blast to left also scored Aaron Hicks, who led off the inning with a single.
He pulled level on the AL single-season homer list with Roger Maris, who hit 61 for the Yankees in 1961. The only other AL player ever to hit 60 in a season was Babe Ruth, who had 60 for the Yankees in 1927.
Roger Maris, Jr., the former slugger’s son, and Patty Judge, the current star’s mother, shared an embrace in the first row of the stands after No. 61 cleared the fence.
Mr. Judge said after the Yankees’ 8-3 win, “It’s an incredible honor, getting a chance to be associated with one of the Yankee greats, one of baseball’s greats, words can’t describe it.
“That’s one thing so special about the Yankees organization, is all the guys that came before us and kind of paved the way and played the game the right way, did things the right way, did a lot of great things in this game and getting a chance to be mentioned with those guys now is, I can’t even describe it, it’s an incredible honor that’s for sure.”
Mr. Judge, 30, had gone homerless in seven consecutive games since hitting his 60th against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sept. 20. He finished the Wednesday game 1-for-4 with a walk.
Regarding the record-tying blast, Mr. Judge said, “When I hit it, I thought I got enough, but it’s been a couple of games since I did that, so you never really know if it was going to get out or, so, I tried to sprint around the bases a little bit then once it got over the fence, just relief that now we’re leading the game.
“Getting a chance to tie Roger Maris, you dream about that kind of stuff, it’s unreal.”
The all-time single-season record is 73, set by the San Francisco Giants’ Barry Bonds in 2001. Sammy Sosa topped 60 three times for the Chicago Cubs from 1998-2001, and Mark McGwire exceeded 60 for the St. Louis Cardinals in both 1998 and 1999.
The Yankees have seven regular-season games remaining after Wednesday. — Reuters