By Deesha Thosar
FOX Sports MLB Writer
Aaron Judge made baseball history Wednesday when he launched his 61st home run of the season in the seventh inning against Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Tim Mayza, tying Roger Maris for the all-time American League record for home runs in a single season.
Aaron Judge hits 61st home run of the season, tying Roger Maris’ AL record
Aaron Judge crushed his 61st home run of the season on Wednesday in Toronto, tying Roger Maris for the most home runs in a single season by an AL player.
Judge’s record blast came in the Yankees‘ 155th game of the season and the 151st in which he has played. He went homer-less in seven straight games before clobbering No. 61.
Following Judge’s blast, the Yankees‘ slugger is just one swing away from setting a new AL home run record and becoming the fourth player in Major League Baseball history to hit at least 62 home runs in a season. Judge will be forever linked to these game-changing sluggers who crushed 61 home runs or more: Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Maris.
More than six decades ago, Maris broke Babe Ruth’s then-MLB record of 60 home runs in the Yankees’ 163rd game of the season by crushing Red Sox pitcher Tracy Stallard’s 2-0 pitch to deep right field at Yankee Stadium. After his sprint around the bases, Maris popped out of the dugout and took a sheepish curtain call.
Judge, too, after tying Ruth’s record of 60 on Sept. 20, felt compelled to participate in a curtain call at the urging of his manager and teammates. The result was another sheepish tip of his cap to the fans that roared behind him.
It seems like the record isn’t where Maris’ and Judge’s similarities will end. Maris won the American League MVP award in that enchanted 1961 season. Judge is the likely AL MVP in his 61-home-run — and counting — season, one that has earned its place in both Yankees and baseball lore.
Aaron Boone used just one word to describe how Judge has handled the immense pressure and the historic significance of his home-run chase.
“Perfect,” he said Thursday at Yankee Stadium. “He’s handled it perfectly.”
The Yankees have seven games left in the regular season. Judge is nowhere near done yet.
Deesha Thosar is an MLB writer for FOX Sports. She previously covered the Mets for the New York Daily News. Follow her on Twitter at @DeeshaThosar.
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