New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge smacked his 62nd homerun of the season, which put him past Roger Maris and vaulted him into the record books as the owner of the American League single-season home run record.
Only Barry Bonds (73), Mark McGwire (70, 65) and Sammy Sosa (66, 64, 63) are ahead of Judge on MLB’s single-season home run list.
“It’s a big relief. I think that everyone can sit back down in their seats and watch the ballgame, you know? No, but it’s been a fun ride so far,” Judge said, according to ESPN’s Marly Rivera. “Getting a chance to do this, with the team we’ve got, the guys surrounding me, the constant support from my family whose been with me through this whole thing … it’s been a great honor.”
Judge wanted to do it in front of the Yankees crowd during the weekend series against the Baltimore Orioles, but he got it done on the road against the Texas Rangers, and he received a warm ovation from the crowd and a celebration at home plate with his teammates.
“Pretty surreal,” Judge said. “Just like in Toronto, it was pretty awesome, having their support. I think, in Texas, they were a little more excited. They could finally exhale. “At home, in the dugout, I can see right in and see all the guys sitting at the top steps. Here on the road, they are behind me, so I didn’t see the 40-plus people sitting in the dugout. So, I think, to finally see them run out on the field and get a chance to hug them all, that’s what it’s about for me.”
The iconic baseball was caught by Cory Youmans of Dallas, who was sitting in Section 31. Youmans said he did not know what to do with the ball.
“I don’t know where it is,” Judge said. “It would be nice to get it, but that guy made a great catch.”
“We were all a little bit out of sorts,” Yankees ace Gerrit Cole said following the game. “What a special opportunity to share a field with this guy. He’s just an unbelievable player, unbelievable talent, unbelievable human. He’s been our rock all year.”
“Roger Maris Jr,. him and his family, supporting and being along for the ride too, a lot of thanks and congratulations to them too,” Judge said. “It’s a tough situation, your dad’s legacy and you want to uphold that. But getting a chance to meet that family, they are wonderful people. Getting a chance to have my name next to someone as great as Roger Maris, Babe Ruth, those guys, is incredible.”
“He plays the game the right way,” Maris Jr. said of Judge earlier this week. “And I think it gives people the chance to look at somebody who should be revered for hitting 62 home runs, and not just a guy who hit it in the American League, but for being the actual single-season home run champion. That’s who he is. It’s 62, and I think that’s what needs to happen.”
“The history of this game is one of its calling cards,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “The number 61. I’ve known about that number for my entire life. I think one thing that makes our sport a little more special than the others is the history of it all. We do history really well. And this has been a year and a season where we’re in the middle of one of those magical historical moments, and that’s tied to a number. And that’s pretty neat.”