On Wednesday, Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees tied the American League home run record set by Roger Maris in 1961, slugging his 61st home run 61 years after Maris etched his name into the record books.
Batting in the top of the seventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays’ Tim Mayza, Judge rocketed a 3-2 pitch 394 feet into the left field stands at a speed of 117.4 mph, the hardest he has hit any home run this season, according to Statcast tracking data, ESPN noted.
61 years since 61.
Aaron Judge has written his name alongside Roger Maris in baseball's record books. pic.twitter.com/1V4Gums34C
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 29, 2022
After his historic home run, Judge praised his wife Samantha, who was his high school sweetheart, saying, “My wife has been with me through it all and she’s calm as a cucumber, that’s for sure,”
He also thanked his mother, who was in attendance, declaring, “She’s been with me through it all. From the Little League days, getting me ready for school, taking me to my first couple of practices and games, being there for my first professional game, my debut and now getting a chance to be here for this – this is something special, and we’re not done yet.”
New York #Yankees slugger Roger Maris hits HR #61 of the 1961 season vs. Boston #RedSox pitcher Tracy Stallard at Yankee Stadium to break Babe Ruth's single-season home run record! #MLB #Baseball #History pic.twitter.com/P3x78k4haG
— Baseball by BSmile (@BSmile) September 23, 2022
Meanwhile, Roger Maris Jr., the son of the late slugger, said that the home run records racked up by Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, who all surpassed Maris’ 61 home runs in a season, were illegitimate. When he was asked whether their records were illegitimate, he answered, “I do. I think most people do.”
Asserting that if adding Judge hits his 62nd home run he should be considered the all-time single season home run leader, Maris Jr. continued, “He should be revered for being the actual single-season home run champ. I mean, that’s really who he is if he hits 62, and I think that’s what needs to happen. I think baseball needs to look at the records and I think baseball should do something.”
McGwire admitted he had used steroids when playing. Bonds and Sosa have been suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs.
“I can’t think of anybody better that baseball can look up to than Aaron Judge,” Maris Jr. added.
Noting that the Yankees will return to the Bronx on Friday for their three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles, Maris Jr. stated, “You can tell he’s back and he’s ready to go now. I think it will happen in New York. That’s where you want it to happen, that’s where I want it to happen. I think the city of New York deserves it. The fans deserve it. I think it would be great for baseball if it happens in New York.”
“Get to New York and hit 62 and knock the top off Yankee Stadium. It’s going to be fun,” he told Judge.