Aaron Judge’s historic season is being closely followed as both a baseball and news story by fans and media across the country. He was still on 60 homers when the Yankees took the field against the Toronto Blue Jays in Canada on Tuesday night with anticipation high for his next blast.
The Bronx home crowd was hoping Judge would tie and pass Yankees legend Roger Maris over their team’s four-game series against the Boston Red Sox that began last Thursday and ended on Sunday, but he stayed stuck on 60. Maris set the American League and Yankees record of 61 homers in 1961, breaking Babe Ruth’s 60 hits in 1927. Judge has a limited amount of time to climb up Major League Baseball’s all-time single season list.
The Yankees, who were 94-59 and in first place in the AL East, 7.5 games ahead of Toronto before Tuesday’s game, only have seven more regular season games remaining starting tomorrow hosting the Baltimore Orioles for three-games. It’ll take an incredible power display by Judge to catch Barry Bonds, who is No. 1 at 73 achieved in 2001.
But Mark McGuire (70) and Sammy Sosa (66) who reached their marks in 1998 are much more possible. Judge tied Ruth’s 60 against the Pittsburgh Pirates last Tuesday, a 9-8 Yankee win. Leading off the ninth inning with the Yanks down by four runs, Judge blasted his homer 430 feet into Yankee Stadium’s left field bleachers.
Fast forward, Yanks down by three, bases loaded, Giancarlo Stanton hit a walkoff grand. “I kind of lost my mind,” said Judge, more excited about Stanton’s homer and the Yankees’ win than his milestone.
“That’s a signature Giancarlo Stanton 10-foot laser to the outfield. I had a good front-row seat for that one. I think the whole team lost its mind, and the stadium erupted.”
Judge, appearing selfless through all of the well deserved attention, is putting the team and his teammates first, at least for now, as he will be in line for one of the largest contracts in baseball history when he becomes a free-agent this off-season.
“We have some big games coming up,” noted Judge after jacking his 58th and 59th homers against the Milwaukee Brewers last week. “That’s really the only thing on my mind right now. My focus is to go out there and win a game.” According to Judge, jacking homers isn’t his goal when he’s at the plate.
“I focus on doing what I can to be a good teammate, help the team win. If that means hitting a homer, then it means hitting a homer, but it’s never been my focus, never been my main objective.”
Judge could also win the triple crown as he began Tuesday leading the AL home runs, batting average (.314) and RBIs (128).