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Yankees' Aaron Judge Ties Roger Maris' Single-Season AL Home Run Record With No. 61

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 29, 2022

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 13: Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees runs the bases after hitting a home run during the eighth inning of a game against the Boston Red Sox on September 13, 2022 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge slugged his 61st home run of the season Wednesday against the Toronto Blue Jays, tying the record held by Yankees legend Roger Maris for the most home runs by an American League player in a single season.

New York Yankees @Yankees

61 years since 61.<br><br>Aaron Judge has written his name alongside Roger Maris in baseball's record books. <a href="https://t.co/1V4Gums34C">pic.twitter.com/1V4Gums34C</a>

Judge's historic blast came off left-hander Tim Mayza in the seventh inning of the Yankees' road game at Rogers Centre to give his team a 5-3 lead.

Maris stood alone as the AL single-season home run king for 61 years, as he smashed 61 homers during the 1961 campaign, surpassing the record of another Yankees great in Babe Ruth, who hit 60 home runs in 1927.

While Maris' single-season MLB record was broken by both Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in 1998, and then Barry Bonds in 2001 with a still-standing record of 73, no AL player was able to match him until now.

The 30-year-old Judge has been on a torrid pace all year, and it has come in the final year of his contract as he looks to cash in with the Yankees or perhaps even another team in free agency during the offseason.

Maris won his second of two consecutive AL MVP awards in 1961, and Judge is now a contender to win his first AL MVP award this season.

The Yankees have dealt with several significant injuries to their lineup and pitching staff this season, which made them go from a historic winning pace in the first half to fighting to hang on to the AL East lead during the second half.

While many of the Yanks' top players have been on and off the injured list, Judge has been the one constant, appearing in his most games since playing 155 in 2017.

Judge hit 52 homers in 2017 en route to being named AL Rookie of the Year and finishing second in the AL MVP voting, but he has reached a new level in 2022, firmly establishing himself as the face of baseball.

There is some uncertainty ahead for Judge in terms of his contract and the Yankees in terms of whether they will truly be able to contend for a World Series this season, but Judge's 2022 campaign is now cemented in history regardless of what the future holds.

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