With Deesha Thosar
FOX Sports MLB Writer
There’s everyone else… and then there’s Aaron Judge.
Judge broke a tie with Roger Maris and now holds the AL single-season home run record after smashing his 62nd homer of the year into left field on a 1-1 slider off Rangers right-hander Jesus Tinoco on Tuesday at Globe Life Field.
The Yankees slugger tied Maris’ previous AL record of 61 home runs on Sept. 28 in Toronto. Judge was then without a home in five games and 17 at-bats leading up to Tuesday’s blowout. He tied Babe Ruth’s mark of 60 home runs against the Pirates on September 20 at Yankee Stadium.
Judge’s home run No. 62 came from the top of the first inning and on the third pitch of Game 2 of a doubleheader, starting the Yankees’ 161st game of the season. Judge became the Yankees’ everyday starter in late September so he would get as many at-bats as possible and as many opportunities to make history as possible.
His record home run had a scorching exit velocity of 100.2 mph and traveled 391 feet into left field. According to Statcast, it would be a home game in 29 of 30 parks.
Aaron Judge of the Yankees hits a record 62nd home run of the season
Aaron Judge broke Roger Maris’ AL single-season home run record with his 62nd blast of the season Tuesday at Texas.
As has been the case throughout Judge’s pursuit, his teammates were more ecstatic about the historic achievement than he was. Judge has remained humble and humorous when talking publicly about the possibility of passing Maris, and in the minutes Judge took it all in, Tuesday night was no different. He hugged and shook hands with every person in and around the Yankees dugout who wanted to congratulate the big man.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone, teammates and members of the coaching staff waited at home plate for Judge as he rounded the bases. While those around him showed intense emotion, clearly excited for the heartbeat of their club, Judge looked happy but completely calm. His ability to balance all the pressure and peripherals that accompanied Mari’s record pursuit will not go unnoticed. His cool demeanor and team demeanor were present until the day No. 62 was broken.
Boone removed Judge from the game in the bottom of the second inning, and Judge received a standing ovation from the thousands of fans in Texas as he left the field. Upon completing the odyssey, Judge received even more hugs from his teammates in the dugout. The unbroken smile he flashed clearly marked his relief and satisfaction.
Judge’s mother, Patty, was sitting in the stands at Globe Life Field talking to the person to her right when Judge’s barrel connected on home run No. 62. Looked like he expected the ball off his bat to be an automatic fly out. After all, she’d traveled to every Yankees game in recent weeks, and in her son’s previous 17 at-bats, she’d seen him hit balls that just didn’t go over the damn fence.
But on Tuesday, as the ball sailed toward left field, her expression was impassive while the ball was in the air. When she finally landed over the left field wall and into the seats, Patty closed her eyes, smiled, leaned back in her seat and let out a long exhale. Then she stood up, raised both arms in the air and waved to Judge as he rounded the bases. She was greeted with hugs and greetings from those around her. She looked surprised — and relieved, as did her son.
Judge continued to smile widely after a lucky fan in left field caught his historic ball. Just a few minutes later No. 62 was back to his usual, locked-in self — focusing on his teammates on the base paths and looking at how many outs were on the board.
“Finally,” he seemed to think. Hours earlier, he had cracked his helmet with the Cubs in the dugout in frustration after coming out to finish the fifth inning of Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Rangers. He hadn’t returned home since last week’s New York series finale in Toronto. By the end of the regular season, he was missing chances in every game that went without a big ball.
Aaron Judge hits 61st home run of the season, tying Roger Maris’ AL record
Aaron Judge smashed his 61st home run of the season Wednesday in Toronto, tying Roger Maris for the most games in a season by an AL player.
Then throw in the Triple Crown chase. Judge has the most home runs (62) and RBI (131) in Major League Baseball by a wide margin, and is second in the AL in batting average. When he hit No. 61 last week, he was tied for first in the AL with Twins infielder Luis Arraez, with both players posting a .313 average. In the days that followed, Judge’s average fell slightly and Arraez’s rose slightly.
But the Triple Crown chase continues, and even though it seems less attainable than it did a week ago, it’s just another reminder of the special season Judge and the Yankees have enjoyed this year.
Judge has carried the Yankees since the All-Star break and will soon ride that wave into the postseason. After that, it is expected to enter free office and, therefore, get paid. Very.
In recent weeks, it’s become increasingly difficult to imagine Judge in anything other than Yankee pinstripes. Now, from his home run record to his smile and his team’s reaction, it’s clear to see how much No. 99 means to the franchise. What that might mean for his next contract is still an open question.
For now, though, there’s time for Judge and the Yankees to live in the moment. It just made history.
Deesha Thosar is an MLB writer for FOX Sports. He previously covered the Mets for the New York Daily News. Follow her on Twitter at @Deesha Thosar.
Get more from Major League Baseball Follow your favorites to get information on games, news and more