MLB

Judge should be true single-season home run champion if he reaches 62, says Maris Jr

By Sports Desk September 29, 2022

New York Yankees history-maker Aaron Judge should be revered as the single-season home run champion if he can crush a 62nd blast this season, according to Roger Maris Jr.

Judge matched Maris Sr's Yankees and American League single-season record of 61 home runs from 1961 with a seventh-inning two-run shot in Wednesday's 8-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays, ending a run of seven games without a homer.

That moved Judge beyond Yankees great Babe Ruth (60 in 1927), with only three players having hit more homers in one season: Barry Bonds (73 in 2001), Mark McGwire (70 in 1998 and 65 in 1999) and Sammy Sosa (66 in 1998, 64 in 2001, 63 in 1999).

All three of those players set their marks during baseball's so-called 'steroid era', making Judge's achievement appear all the more remarkable. Bonds and Sosa have denied knowingly using steroids.

Maris Jr, who sat in the crowd next to Judge's mother Patty for Wednesday's historic moment, said the Yankees outfielder's feat stood out.

"He's clean. He's a Yankee," Maris Jr told reporters. "He plays the game the right way. And he gives people a chance to look at somebody who should be revered."

The Yankees have seven regular-season games remaining, so Judge is unlikely to get near Bonds' all-time record of 73 despite being on track for that at one point earlier this season.

Instead, Judge will next set his sights when they resume at Yankee Stadium against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday on breaking Maris Sr's mark, which Maris Jr said would set him apart.

"He should be revered for being the actual single-season home run champ," Maris Jr said. "That's really who he is, if he hits 62."

Yankees manager Aaron Boone praised Judge for being a great teammate and making the whole group feel part of his achievement.

"He's as beloved as they come," Boone said. "Everyone is just so excited for him but also, I think it's partly because of how Aaron is, everyone feels a part of it.

"That's who he is as a teammate. That's part of the reason guys are so excited. That's a tribute to him."

Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole, who also achieved franchise history on Wednesday by tying Ron Guidry's record of 248 strikeouts in a single season, was glowing towards Judge.

"I think it's more special because of what Aaron did tonight, to be honest," Cole said. "It's obviously a really special number. Guidry was so good for us, so magical and his record held for so long."

On Judge's 61st home run, Cole added: "It kind of felt like we were the only ones there. It was just a really special moment of togetherness, and we're all so proud of him and know how hard he works.

"I know he wants to keep it low-key, but boy does he deserve it."

Related items

  • Rangers sign former Dodgers starting pitcher Andrew Heaney on a two-year deal Rangers sign former Dodgers starting pitcher Andrew Heaney on a two-year deal

    The Texas Rangers continue to be busy in the free-agent market, signing veteran left-handed starting pitcher Andrew Heaney on Tuesday to a two-year contract.

    The deal is worth $25million with another $12m available in incentives, and includes an opt-out after the first season, according to ESPN.

    The 31-year-old Heaney had a bounce-back season with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2022, going 4-4 with a 3.10 ERA in 16 appearances, including 14 starts.

    After missing most of the first half of the season due to two stints on the injured list from left shoulder inflammation, Heaney returned to post a 1.09 WHIP and struck out a career-best 13.6 batters per nine innings.

    Heaney joins a rotation that includes Jacob deGrom, who the Rangers signed to a five-year, $185m contract last week. DeGrom, considered the best pitcher in baseball when healthy, was the latest massive contract handed out by the Rangers.

    Texas spent a combined $500m on middle infielders Corey Seager and Marcus Semien last offseason, and now add Heaney and DeGrom to a rotation that could include holdovers Jon Gray, and Martin Perez and recently acquired Jake Odorizzi.

    In nine seasons with the Miami Marlins, Los Angeles Angels, New York Yankees and Dodgers, Heaney is 36-42 with a 4.56 ERA in 137 games, including 126 starts.

  • Judge remains priority for Yankees in free agency, says Cashman Judge remains priority for Yankees in free agency, says Cashman

    Aaron Judge remains the New York Yankees' top priority in free agency, says general manager Brian Cashman, as they look to tie down the 2022 American League MVP.

    The four-time All-Star has spent his entire MLB career at Yankee Stadium, but failed to agree a new long-term deal ahead of last season, instead penning just a short-term contract.

    With the 30-year-old out of contract, his options are open after a season that saw him shatter the single-season American League home run record with 62.

    Cashman says owner Hal Steinbrenner has met with Judge over his future, and hopes they will be able to convince the outfielder to re-sign with them sooner rather than later.

    "We'd love to have our player back," he said. "We would love to continue to call him our player every step of the way as he follows what looks like a career path that will lead him to [Hall of Fame home] Cooperstown.

    "I appreciate being in a position to have a conversation with a player of Judge's magnitude The ownership here has allowed us to stay in the game on a big-ticket item.

    "That's great. I'm sure there's a lot of teams that would love to have access to a player of his calibre but can't participate because the asks are going to be so immense."

    Cashman acknowledged there are risks to waiting on Judge's call, both for whoever may otherwise sign him and how it will shape the Yankees going forward.

    But he believes the wait will be worth it if they can bring him back into the fold, adding: "It's not like we've missed time in my opinion.

    "I understand the longer things go, the more at risk you are. It's easier if we are driving, but we're not driving it."

  • Phillies sign shortstop Trea Turner to 11-year, $300million free agent deal Phillies sign shortstop Trea Turner to 11-year, $300million free agent deal

    The Philadelphia Phillies and shortstop Trea Turner have agreed to an 11-year, $300million contract, bolstering the lineup and infield of the reigning National League champions.

    Turner will be reunited with former Washington Nationals teammate Bryce Harper, and joins a potent lineup that also includes Kyle Schwarber, J.T. Realmuto and Rhys Hoskins.

    With his combination of power and speed, Turner had become one of the top prizes for this offseason’s free agency period and was also being pursued aggressively by the San Diego Padres, according to ESPN.

    Turner is expected to become the Phillies' primary shortstop, likely moving touted rookie Bryson Stott to second base.

    Turner, 29, is the fourth shortstop in MLB history to sign a contract with a total value of at least $300 million, following Francisco Lindor, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Corey Seager.

    A two-time All-Star, Turner hit .298 last season for the Los Angeles Dodgers with 21 home runs, 39 doubles, a career-high 100 RBI and 27 stolen bases.

    Since his first full season in the majors in 2016, Turner leads the MLB with 228 stolen bases, and his 85.1 per cent success rate on steals leads all players with at least 100 attempts over that span.

    Turner has a career .302 batting average and .842 OPS, tallying 124 home runs, 586 runs scored and 230 stolen bases since his debut in 2015.

    His new contract comes as a part of a flurry of deals from the MLB winter meetings, being held in-person for the first time since 2019.

    Over $1billion in total contracts have been agreed to so far this offseason, including the blockbuster deal that landed former New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom with the Texas Rangers for up to six years and $222m.

    The Mets responded by signing Justin Verlander to a two-year deal worth nearly $87m.

    The Dodgers, who retained Clayton Kershaw on a one-year, $20m deal, but lost Turner, will look to be key players in the rest of free agency.

    Outfielder and American League home run champion Aaron Judge remains the top free agent on the market, but the Dodgers could look to replace Turner at shortstop with Xander Bogaerts, Carlos Correa or Dansby Swanson.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.