The Bambino officially has company. New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge tied Babe Ruth’s single-season high of 60 home runs in a 9–8 comeback win over the Pittsburgh Pirates Tuesday night in the Bronx. The total is the second most in American League history. Judge is now breathing down the neck of fellow Yankee Roger Maris’ mark of 61 homers in 1961. Before that historic season, the Babe’s total of 60 stood as the gold standard for 34 years. Judge’s next chance to tie and/or pass Maris will be Wednesday night against the Pirates.
Judge Reaches 60 Home Runs
The historic homer came in an odd spot in Tuesday’s game. What started as a back-and-forth affair started to look increasingly like a convincing Pittsburgh win. After Jonathan Loaisiga gave up a go-ahead single to center fielder Bryan Reynolds, struggling closer Clay Holmes came in with hopes of putting out the fire. Instead, second baseman Rodolfo Castro greeted Holmes with a three-run bomb to put Pittsburgh up 8–4.
At that point, the main reason to continue watching appeared to be Judge’s chance at history. He led off the bottom of the ninth amidst a thinning crowd. Sure enough, he came through with a mammoth blast into the left field bleachers. The historic homer put a jolt into the rest of the Yankees lineup. The next three batters reached, setting the table for Giancarlo Stanton, who had struggled since his return from the IL last month. He didn’t miss this opportunity, though, launching a line drive into the left field seats and sending the crowd into a frenzy. It was a perfect ending to a history-making night. A loss could have put a damper on Judge’s moment, but Stanton helped make it especially meaningful.
Any homer Judge hits the rest of the season will have historical significance. We are witnessing something not done for decades in the American League. In fact, some might argue it hasn’t been done “legitimately” for the same length of time. And Judge could win the Triple Crown to boot, with the homer giving him the lead for the batting title. If he indeed sets the new AL mark, it would be practically inexcusable for the Yankees not to re-sign Judge, regardless of the price tag.
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