Toronto (AP) — Aaron Judge tied Roger Maris’ American League record of 61 home runs in a season.hit the New York Yankees tiebreaker two-run drive in the seventh inning to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-3 on Wednesday night.
The 30-year-old slugger drove a 94.5 mph belt-high sinker on full count from left-hander Tim Maza over the left field fence at Rogers Center. A 117.4 mph drive took him just 3.8 seconds to land 394 feet off the plate, and the Yankees took his 5-3 lead.
The judges saw the ball clatter from the front of the stands just below two fans who reached over the railing to catch it. He pumped his arm just before reaching first and exchanged slaps with coach Travis Chapman.
“I thought I could go over the fence. I didn’t know that at first. I didn’t want to stand at home plate when I hit the wall,” said the judge. Yes, it took a little longer than I expected.”
The ball fell into the Toronto bullpen, where it was picked up by Blue Jays bullpen coach Matt Bushman and handed over to the Yankees.
The judge’s mother Patty and Roger Maris Jr. stood up and hugged each other from their front row seats.
“I’m nothing without my family,” Judge said. “To share this moment with his mother and try to pay tribute to Roger Maris Jr. means he’s here to show up.”
The judges were congratulated by the entire Yankees team and gave him a hug after he crossed the plate.
“It was pretty cool. I wasn’t expecting that,” said the judge.
Judges surpassed Babe Ruth’s 60th home run in 1927. This was his league record in the majors until Maris broke it in 1961.
Barry Bonds holds the major league record of 73 in 2001 with the San Francisco Giants.
Judge finished seven games without a home run — his longest drought of the season was nine in mid-August. It was the Yankees’ 155th game of the season, with seven more games left in the regular season.
The home run was Judges fourth at-bat of the night, ending a streak of 34 at-bats without a home run.
Judge has .313 RBIs with 130 RBIs and is also the leader in AL totals. He could be the first to win his AL Triple Crown since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012.
Maris finished 61st for the Yankees on October 1, 1961, against Boston Red Sox pitcher Tracy Stallard.
Maris’ mark has been crossed six times, all plagued by the stench of steroids. Mark Maguire hit his 70th home run with his St. Louis Cardinals in 1998, and the next year he hit 65, with Bonds surpassing him. Sammy Sosa has scored 66, 65 and 63 in his four seasons since 1998.
Maguire admitted to using banned steroids, but Bonds and Sosa denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs. The club’s fans (probably many) have historically viewed Maris as the “clean” record holder.
One of the tallest hitters in Major League history, the 6-foot-7 Judge stormed onto the scene on Aug. 13, 2016, home from the railing above the mid-sized sports bar at Yankee Stadium to the net above Monument Park. hit the He became the first teammate to hit a home run in his first league at-bat in the same game, following Tyler Austin.
Judge was unanimously awarded the AL Rookie of the Year award the following year for hitting 52 homers with 114 RBIs. His next three seasons were plagued by injuries, and in 2021 he had 39 home runs and 98 RBIs.
As he neared his final season before qualifying for free agency, Judge turned down the Yankees’ offer of an eight-year deal worth $230.5 million to $234.5 million on opening day. The proposal includes an annual average of $30.5 million from 2023-29, and his salary this year will be the $17 million offered by the team in arbitration or the $21 million demanded by the player.
An agreement was reached in June for a one-year, $19 million contract, and Judges will likely head into this offseason to secure a contract worth more than $300 million, possibly more than $400 million, from the Yankees or another team.
Judge hit 6 homers in April, 12 in May, and 11 in June. He earned his fourth All-Star selection and entered the break with 33 home runs. He hit his 13th home run in his July and dipped to his 9th in August. This is because the injury left him out of the batting order and the pitcher walked his 25th inning.
He became the fifth player to hold the AL season record share. Knapp Lajoie scored 14 in his first season in the AL as a major league player in 1901, and Philadelphia Athletics teammate Sox his Seabold scored 16 the following year, and Babe he held the record until Ruth in his 1919 scored 29. In 1920 he was 54 years old, in 1921 he was 59 years old, in 1927 he was 60 years old, and this record continued until Maris said he was 61 years old in 1961.
In his first season, when Maris was 35 years old in July 1961, each team’s schedule increased from 154 to 162 games, and baseball commissioner Ford Flick determined that no player had beaten Ruth in more than 154 games. Did. Babe Ruth’s record shows it was set under his 154-game schedule. ”
That “distinguished mark” became known as the “asterisk”, and on September 4, 1991, the Statistical Accuracy Committee, chaired by Commissioner Fay Vincent, voted unanimously to recognize Maris as the record holder. It was left to do.
AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.
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