Aaron Judge Hits 54th Home Run, Staying Ahead of Roger Maris
61 years ago, in the 135th game on the Yankees’ schedule, Roger Maris blasted the 52nd and 53rd home games of the season. The first came from the Detroit Tigers’ Frank Larry, who was widely known as the “Yankee Killer” for somehow mastering the all-time greatest roster.
Maris said after the game, quoted by The Detroit Free Press. “But especially on Frank Larry’s. He has sidelined me so many times. “
For Maris that September, the contest barely mattered. 61 years later, so is Aaron Judge. Facing the Minnesota Twins on Monday, in the Yankees’ 135th game, he got Homer 54 right inside the foul column of the left field to raise the Yankees by one Win 5-2. Judge is ahead of Maris, on track to break the American League record of 61 home runs in a season, overwhelming everyone in his path.
During this season, Judge gave a high rating to Max Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young Award winner. He honored Shohei Ohtani, the reigning AL Best Player Award winner. He backed Shane McClanahan, AL’s starter in the All-Star Game.
It was then all guaranteed that Judge would connect against Minnesota. Over the past two decades, the Twins have been up against Frank Larry: They almost always lose to the Yankees. It was baseball’s biggest blunder, as the Yankees had a fearsome 112-39 against Minnesota, including the playoffs, since 2002.
Twin freshmen, Chris Archer and Trevor Megill, took turns allowing the 109 mph laser to hit Judge on Monday. The first was a double shot on Archer in the first game, and followed by a two-lap jump that ran ahead on a hanging slider in the sixth game. Judge stepped into the middle.
“Especially when the boys don’t want to throw the ball at him and he can still do it, that’s what makes it so impressive,” said short-distance runner Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who also went home. said on Monday. “He’s not out there just swinging things. He has one or two throws in a game, and that’s all he sees.”
From the fifth inning last Wednesday through the third on Monday, Judge was the only Yankee to score a run. On Monday, the Yankees played without Andrew Benintendi (wrist), DJ LeMahieu (toe) and Anthony Rizzo (back), then lost Giancarlo Stanton on three hits when he fouled the ball off his foot. Judge just continued slugging, with the hosts in each of his last three games and five of his last seven.
“You have to post daily – if someone is there, if someone isn’t there,” Judge said. “If the normal crew we had in April was there or not, it really doesn’t matter. I still have to go up there and give my best for four or five games and play hard in defence. “
The Yankees’ lead, which stood at 15 ½ games on July 8, fell to four games at the weekend. But LeMahieu, Rizzo and Stanton are still on the active roster, and Benintendi will have surgery on Tuesday but could still return this season. The Yankees can separate themselves on this home turf against the Twins push (sorry, but facts are facts) and rival Tampa Bay split.
The judge insisted that pushing the playoffs was all that matters; pursuing Maris almost by accident. Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds all topped 61 players between 1998-2001 (with the Bonds holding the record 73 in 2001), but baseball didn’t test steroids after that. Sign 61 has deep historical resonance, and it may take an approach like Judge’s to achieve it.
“It just doesn’t matter to me,” he said. “The important thing for me is to win – win this tournament, first, and put our team in a good position going into the post-season. It’s not all about me, no matter what happens. One cannot win or lose you in a ball game. All that praise, all the records, things like that, it’s off-season talk. “
For Judge, maybe, but not for everyone. Manager Aaron Boone is pleased with the home run, he said, especially since no other player has hit like this.
“I think when you put it in the context of where the league is – who’s next in the US League, Yordan, with 31 hosts?” Boone said, referring to Houston’s Yordan Alvarez, who is actually second in the AL with 31 home runs before Monday. “I mean, that’s amazing.”
Of course, Judge started the season with turned down Yankees’ seven-year, $213.5 million contract offer – obviously a fortune, but the average annual salary ($30.5 million) wouldn’t make it into the top 10 in the game. Judge has proven his personal worth by joining the team.
“He came to us and talked pitches all the time,” Jameson Taillon began. “If he gets out, he will immediately follow the next person. And all are real. It’s not like he’s doing it to say, ‘Look at me, I’m a good guy on the team.’ He’s just really invested in everyone. “
The Yankees haven’t had a losing record since 1992, the year Judge was born, and he wants a championship that sticks to his legacy. But 61 or more host players this season will secure something else for Judge: an off-field spot in Monument Park, much like Maris.
“I don’t want to say anything too soon, but things are happening, one day he can play in the center,” Kiner-Falefa said. “To play with someone with that honor, it’s something you’ll remember for the rest of your life.”