NEW YORK — Only five players had hit 60 home runs in a single season in major league history — that is, until New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge joined this exclusive club with a home run solo against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.
The All-Star outfielder is now one home run away from tying Roger Maris’ American League single-season record of 61 home runs, set in 1961, which also stood as the major league mark for 37 years.
With his 60th home run, the 6-foot-7 judge also tied Babe Ruth (1927) for eighth place on the single-season home run list as the Yankees rallied for a 9-8 victory.
“I have to believe it’s right there with some of the best, very short season slates of all time, which it does,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of Judge’s nightly pursuit for the season. history of baseball. “Our focus is obviously on winning and what’s at stake for us as a team. But inside of that, to look at what he’s doing, you certainly realize what a special season you’re witnessing.”
There have now been nine 60-home run seasons in MLB history, by six different players. Judge joined Hall of Famers Ruth and Maris, along with Barry Bonds (2001), Mark McGwire (1999, 1998) and Sammy Sosa (2001, 1999, 1998).
Judge’s 59 home runs were already the most by a right-handed hitter in AL history. Judge had also previously joined Ruth (four) and Mickey Mantle (two) as the third member of the storied Yankees franchise to have multiple 50 HR seasons while wearing stripes.
But Maris’ home run record isn’t the only historic mark Judge is chasing.
The incoming umpire’s batting average on Tuesday was .316, one point ahead of Minnesota Twins first baseman Luis Arraez. Judge, who is anything but a lock to lead the league in home runs and RBIs (127), has a shot at becoming the 11th player to win the Triple Crown since RBIs became official in 1920.