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Here Comes the (Aaron) Judge

Here Comes the (Aaron) Judge
August 31
04:26 2022

Here Comes the Judge

By John Christian Hopkins

Will Aaron Judge nudge the New York Yankees’ single-season home-run record up a notch or two?

You be the judge.

The Yankees slugger will enter September with a Major League-leading 50 homers. That leaves him a month to reach 62 and set a new team record.

The road won’t be easy, but it is one the gentle giant would traverse.

Babe Ruth set the team record in 1927 when he became the first man ever to hit 60 homers in a season. During that season the Babe hit more home-runs by himself than many other teams had combined!

That record seemed unbeatable, though a few players gave it a good try over the years. In the American League both Hank Greenberg and Jimmie Foxx reached 58 homers, and in the National League Hack Wilson stalled out at 56.

But that magic 60 number seemed unreachable.

Until 1961.

The race to surpass Ruth was aged between two Yankee players – Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris.

The M & M Boys crashed home-runs at an amazing pace. For a time it looked like one of them would surpass the babe’s record.

The smart money would have been on Mantle, who was one of the greatest sluggers of all time. But a late season injury curtailed the Mick’s pursuit, and he finished 1961 with 54 homers.

Under immense pressure – which caused his hair to start to fall out – Maris chugged along. On the final day of the season Maris hit number 61 and became the games new record-holder for homers in a season.

Kind of.

Some baseball purists pointed out that Ruth set his record during a 154-game season, while Maris had 162 games in which to break the record.

So where will the argument on Judge’s potential record fall? It is unlikely he can reach 60 in 154 games, though it is more likely that he could by game 162.

Judge has also proven to be injury prone during his career, so that could sidetrack him on his quest. Only once has he played in 150 games in a season.

Still, this could be his season. He’s only played in 125 games in 2022, and has 50 homers, 110 runs batted in and a career-high .294 batting average.

For good measure Judge has stolen 14 bases in 16 attempts!

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