Aaron Judge’s home runs are almost always impressive. Wednesday night’s 61st was no exception — a laser beam shot that landed in the Blue Jays’ bullpen amid loud cheers from the Toronto crowd.
Baseball history was made and the joy was palpable. The New York Yankees slugger has just tied Roger Maris in his league for the Americans, and some fans consider this his one home run record in a “real” season.
No controversy. No discussion. No question. right?
As anyone who follows the sport knows, baseball has a peculiar and sometimes infuriating quirk that prevents us from fully enjoying its greatest moments. Instead of running away from that reality, MLB seems to be embracing the chaos of the debate.
Judges’ pursuit of 61 this season and Cardinals star Albert Pujols’ 700th career home run have brought the game’s staggering record and historic debate back to the forefront.
Even if Judges finished 62nd in the next seven games, MLB records clearly show Barry Bonds as the record holder at 73rd in 2001. Sammy Sosa topped 61st place three times in his four years from 1998 to 2001.
These numbers came in the age of baseball’s performance-enhancing drugs.
quite a few fans Believe the figures of that era to be taintedRoger Maris Jr., who was in Toronto on Wednesday, was one of them and said the real home run king was Judge.
The 30-year-old Judge has an impeccable reputation in an era where each player is tested for PED during spring training and randomly tested during the season and off-season.
“He should be respected as the actual single-season home run champion.” Young Maris said after a judge matched his father’s record total with the Yankees in 1961.
“I think baseball needs to look at the records, and I think baseball should do something.”
It probably won’t happen. MLB has tried to sidestep the steroids debate by stating that the judge is the American League record holder, but this is absolutely true. Bonds, Maguire and Sosa have all played in the National League.
But since when did anyone really care about AL records?
The answer is that fans usually don’t unless they can conveniently use it as a euphemism for “real”.
MLB, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to embrace the use of asterisks. Neither does the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
MLB has been down that road for some time. Maris’ record was marked with an asterisk for his 30 years. This is because he played on a 162-game schedule, whereas he played on a 154-game schedule like when Babe his Ruth achieved his 60th game. Commissioner Faye Vincent voted unanimously to recognize Maris as the record holder.
Hall of Fame president Josh Rawitch said his organization’s role is to remain as agnostic as possible.
“What we try to focus on is documenting history regardless of the story that surrounds it,” Raywich said. At the same time, it also explains the history of 1998 and has an area of the museum focused on the period of PED.
“I don’t think it tends to inject too much opinion.”
Of course, fans are happy to fill that void.
Baseball’s record book is the most extensive of any major American sport.statistics on baseball reference.com Dating back to 1871, it was recently updated to include stats for the black league, which began to disband in 1947, a year after Jackie Robinson became the first black player in the MLB with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Baseball has changed a lot in 150 years. Historical controversy isn’t going away any time soon.
“Baseball in general has always been about arguments and comparisons of eras,” Lawitch said.
New York-based AP Baseball writer Ronald Blum and Toronto-based freelancer Ian Harrison contributed to this article.
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