New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge hits 62nd home run to break American League record

Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees is celebrating his 62nd home run this season

Aaron Judge hit his 62nd of the season Tuesday night to break Roger Maris’ American League record and set what some fans consider baseball’s clean sheet standard.

The 30-year-old Yankees slugger drove a 1-1 hit by Texas righty Jesus Tinoco into the first two rows of seats in left field to lead off the second game of New York’s doubleheader.

“This is a great relief,” said the judge. “Everybody can finally sit in the seats and watch the ball game. It’s been a fun ride so far, getting a chance to do that. You know, with the team we’ve got the guys that surround me. The constant support from my family that’s been there with me through this whole thing.

“It was a great honor and so was Roger Maris Jr. You know, he and his family, supporting and present on the ride. Many thanks and congratulations to them as well for their conscious support throughout this whole process. I know it’s a difficult situation.

“You know, your dad’s legacy and you want to keep that. But to get a chance to meet their family, they’re wonderful people. To get a chance to have my name next to somebody as big as Roger Maris and Babe Ruth and those guys is amazing. “

Judge (99) is mobbed by his teammates after hitting his 62nd home run

Judge (99) is cheered by his teammates after hitting his 62nd home run

Maris’ 61 for the Yankees in 1961 had been surpassed six times before, but all were tainted by steroids. Mark McGwire hit 70 with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998 and 65 the following year. Barry Bonds hit an MLB record 73 for the San Francisco Giants in 2001, and Chicago Cubs Sammy Sosa had 66, 65 and 63 over a four-season span starting in 1998.

McGwire admitted to using illegal steroids, while Bonds and Sosa denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs. Major League Baseball began experimenting with penalties for PEDs in 2004, and some fans—perhaps many—until now saw Maris as the legitimate record holder.

“You have to admire him for being the de facto single-season home run champion,” Roger Maris Jr. said last Wednesday night after his father’s mark was tied by the umpire. “I think baseball needs to look at the records and I think baseball needs to do something.”

Judge has homered just once in the last 13 games, and that was when he hit 61 last Wednesday in Toronto. The doubleheader at Texas was his 55th straight since Aug. 5.

After a five-hit single in Tuesday’s first game, Judge was 3-for-17 with five walks and a hit by a pitch since surpassing Babe Ruth’s 60 home run in 1927, which stood as a major league record for 34 years. Maris hit his 61st against Boston’s Tracy Stallard at old Yankee Stadium on October 1, 1961.

Judge has a chance to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012. He leads the AL with 131 RBIs and started the day behind Minnesota’s Luis Araz, who is hitting .315.

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