Aaron Judge hits home run No. 62 to pass Roger Maris

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The star of the New York Yankees, Aaron Judge, hit his 62nd home run of the year against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night, passing Roger Maris for the most part in a season by an American League player and forming a late piece of breathtaking drama that only be able to create activities once in a generation.

The home run record has long been sacred, measuring the most straightforward feats of baseball power that even the sport’s unpredictable bounces and contingencies can’t interrupt. Tuesday’s home run gave Judge a complicated, unofficial and awkward title: the most prolific single-season home run hit that didn’t play during the game’s steroid era.

Only record holders Barry Bonds (73), Mark McGwire (70 and 65) and Sammy Sosa (66, 64 and 63) have hit more than 62 home runs in a season. All three played at a time when MLB wasn’t testing as rigorously for performance-enhancing drugs as it is now.

So Judge, sporting his iconic number 99, has emerged as a new modern prototype, a new home run hero for a new era, the latest in a long line of Yankees legends. Like all Yankees legends before him, Judge proved he was capable of withstanding anything New York throws at its most cherished sports stars. But even the stoic 30-year-old, known for his team-first attitude that doesn’t diminish with his performance, was beginning to show the thrill of his pursuit by the time the Yankees’ final streak of the season began.

Cameras normally have no trouble catching Judge with a smile. But with each at bat that passed, the smiles became less and less and farther, his brow furrowed a little more. He seemed to have so much time. Suddenly he didn’t.

“It’s a great relief,” Judge told reporters Tuesday night. “Now everyone can probably sit down and watch the ball game.”

When Judge hit his 60th homer on September 20, he had enough at bats to catch and pass Maris, whose family began following him from town to town. For days, fans fell silent every time a pitcher delivered a ball to Judge, who played seven games between hitting Nos. 60 and 61, a drought that must have felt for the slugger for centuries before ending it last week.

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The Yankees played their final home series of the regular season last weekend, with their division title already sealed, due to rain and cold. Fans were packed in the stands anyway, but the Baltimore Orioles walked Judge five times in three games and eliminated him six times.

So Judge was left to pursue his pursuit to Texas. The Maris family went home. Judge got 1 for 4 in Monday night’s game and 1 for 5 in the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader. Manager Aaron Boone told reporters earlier in the day that Judge, who would normally play just one game of a doubleheader for a team with a first-round bye on the penultimate day of the season, would play both if he didn’t homer in. the first.

He didn’t, and the largest paid crowd in Globe Life Field’s short history filled the stands for the nighttime game. The 38,832 in attendance for Texas’ 3-2 win weren’t there to say goodbye to another disappointing season for the Rangers. They were there to see Judge.

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He started the second game with number 62, a left-center blast from a 1-1 slider from right-handed Jesus Tinoco, a classic Judge swing that looked more comfortable than many of the intermediate hacks he’s been taking since reaching 61. He threw a smile on first base before restoring the all-business look he’d mastered. And when his teammates rushed to meet him at home plate, Judge made sure they gave each of them a hug.

“At home, when I look up, I look right into our dugout so I can see all the guys just sitting on the top step waiting for this to happen,” Judge said. “Here on the road they were behind me, so I didn’t see the 40-somethings sitting in the dugout. I think they finally run out onto the pitch, have a chance to hug them all and congratulate them, that’s what it’s all about for me.”

After hitting a second at bat in the second inning – he struckout – Judge returned to the field for the bottom half. Boone then stepped in to replace him and received a loud cheer from the Texan crowd.

The judge came in on Tuesday and led the AL in home runs and RBI, with a batting average that fell short of that of only one AL player, Luis Arraez of Minnesota. Not only is he enjoying one of the best all-around offensive seasons in baseball history, he’s going for power at a pace unmatched by anyone in the sport. Judge has 62 home runs. The next closest player came in on Tuesday with 46. Since the days of Babe Ruth, the gap between No. 1 and No. 2 hasn’t been this wide. In fact, Judge has the chance to become the AL’s first Triple Crown winner since Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers in 2012 — and just the second since Boston Red Sox great Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.

“Having the chance to have my name next to someone as wonderful as Roger Maris, Babe Ruth, those guys,” Judge said, “it’s unbelievable.”

But Ruth, Maris, Yastrzemski and the rest didn’t have to face the pitches that Judge regularly sees. He collects these numbers at a time when offense, at least measured by batting average, is at record depths, at a time when pitchers have never thrown harder, and in a city where his every move is scrutinized.

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He brings them together months after turning down a more than $200 million contract offer and weeks before becoming a free agent for the first time. And he’s doing it all for a sputtering Yankees team so shattered by injuries that Judge pretty much kept the offense together as they held on to their lead in the AL East. They recently took the division title in Toronto, a late September celebration that did nothing to ease the tension of a superstar and fan base waiting for something far rarer.

Unlike Maris and Ruth, Judge makes history after the widespread use of since-banned drugs complicated the record for home runs. McGwire later admitted to taking steroids when he broke Maris’ record by hitting 70 home runs in 1998.

Maris’ son Roger Jr. was on hand to watch Judge’s pursuit. After Judge connected Maris with number 61, Roger Jr. told reporters that he believes Judge “should be honored for being the true one-season home run champion.”

“That’s really who he is when he turns 62,” he said. “And I think that’s what needs to be done. I think baseball should look at the records, and I think baseball should do something.”

Judge collects his numbers not only at the fastest rate in MLB history, but also under the strictest drug-testing policy the sport has had. He has said he considers Bonds’ 73 to be the record – in other words, 62 is something, but not the whole thing. But the fact that he’s surpassed the number no one has surpassed in more than 30 years to the steroids era means he’s now a persistent part of the conversation about the greatest single-season showings of all time — just in time for him to take the plunge. free agent market.

“Congratulations @TheJudge44 with 62!” tweeted Derek Jeter, the last Yankee to have written his name so emphatically in history. “Next season next!!!”

After all, in the Bronx, careers are measured by championships. Ruth and Maris have them. Judge gets another chance to win his first.


The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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