New York or Nowhere: Aaron Judge’s Historic Home Run Chase
All rise for 61.
On September 28, Judge tied the record for single-season home runs in the American League, held by Yankee Roger Maris (61).
Going in, Judge had a rough week of intentional walks and strikeouts. Before Wednesday, he hit his last home run on September 21 against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
On Monday’s game against Toronto, Judge went 1-3 with two walks (one intentional) and two strikeouts. The game went into extra innings, with Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. walking it off on a single in the tenth.
A day later, the Yankees clinched the AL East division in a 5-2 win over the Blue Jays, sending Judge and the Bronx crew back to the postseason. Judge went homerless once again but walked four times.
Dripping in celebratory champagne in the clubhouse, Judge gave credit to his teammates on their collective achievement rather than looking down on his night. He noted that clinching the AL East was a “big moment, especially for a lot of guys in the room that haven’t had a chance to clinch the division.”
Wednesday night’s record-tying blast came on a Tim Mayza full-count slider in the seventh, and every fan, New York and Toronto alike, was on their feet. Maris’s son, Roger Maris Jr. and Judge’s mom, Patty Judge, shared a hug in honor of Judge’s historic accomplishment.
After Toronto, the Bronx Bombers head back home to face the Baltimore Orioles and then to Arlington to play the Texas Rangers.
Judge has hit nine home runs in 15 games against fellow AL East foe the O’s this season, but none against the Rangers in three games.
It’s important to note that Judge is a free agent at the end of this season. Judge was signed on a one-year, $19-million deal for the 2022 season.
There’s been speculation surrounding where Judge will continue his career. On Monday, he arrived to the Rogers Centre in a sweatshirt with the words “New York or Nowhere,” which, of course, caused baseball Twitter to blow up.
There’s good reason to assume that Judge will stay a Yankee. He’s been successful in the Bronx, hitting .284 in his career with a .394 OBP. He’s also a noted leader among the team and a fan favorite, especially with the fan-created “Judge’s Chambers” section of right field.
If Judge is not a Yankee, there’s no good reason why the Mets’ Steve Cohen and his new empire wouldn’t make a pass for him. They already have a strong outfield of Mark Canha, Starling Marte, Jeff McNeil and Tyler Naquin, but Judge could add a huge offensive boost and a solution to the club’s designated hitter issue.
Of course, everyone has seen the infamous picture of Aaron Judge in a Boston Red Sox cap and shirt. If Judge were to sign in Boston, it would be a complete reverse of the “Curse of the Bambino.”
The Yankees have three games against the Orioles and four against the Rangers, which means, if pitchers stop walking him, Judge has more chances to make history and claim the record for himself.
Adrianna Gallucci is a first-year student majoring in journalism. To contact her, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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