Aaron Judge has finally surpassed Roger Maris’ American League single-season home run record by hitting his 62nd of the season to become the all-time leader.
After equaling Maris with his 61st in Toronto on September 28, the Yankees hero overtook him in Texas with a first-inning homer against the Rangers – taking the record with just one game to go of the regular season.
Judge finally went long after failing to clinch the achievement at Yankee Stadium last week, leaving it to the team’s final road trip of the season to seal history.
He finally made history Tuesday night against Jesus Tinoco of the Texas Rangers in the second game of the Yankees double header.
The Yankees gathered to meet Judge at home plate after the home run, and he took off his helmet as he walked back to the dugout to acknowledge the fans.
The fans at the Globe Life Field gave the No. 99 a standing ovation at the bottom of the inning as he took to the field.
In the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader, Judge went one for five as the designated hitter, singling and scoring the eighth inning.
The tension finally appeared to be getting to him as his frustration boiled over in the dugout where he was seen slamming his helmet to the ground in anger.
Yankees star Aaron Judge hit his 62nd home run of the season to become the all-time leader
Judge surpassed Roger Maris’ American League single-season home run record Tuesday
Judge finally went long after failing to clinch the achievement at Yankee Stadium last week
The slugger finally made history Tuesday night against Jesus Tinoco of the Texas Rangers
The Yankees dugout spilled out onto the field to celebrate with Judge as he rounded the bases
Judge’s mom, Patty, has followed her son’s journey across the country in his quest for No. 62 in recent weeks.
After watching him fail to clinch it in the Bronx, the pressure was growing heavier as time appeared to be running out and the relief was visible on her face as she finally watched him achieve the feat in Texas.
Roger Maris Jr had traveled to Toronto to witness Judge equal his father’s record but did not make the journey to Texas.
Maris Jr led the tributes on social media as he posted: ‘Congratulations to Aaron Judge and his family on Aaron’s historic home run number 62!
‘It has definitely been a baseball season to remember. You are all class and someone who should be revered. For the MAJORITY of the fans, we can now celebrate a new CLEAN HOME RUN KING!!’
Roger Maris Jr led the tributes on social media after Judge broke his father’s record
The 6ft 7 slugger had previously made fans wait as he aimed to level Maris, going seven games without hitting a homer as the pressure appeared to weigh heavy on him.
The Yankees secured the American League East title the night before Judge’s 61st homer, though, and that appeared to have taken the pressure off his shoulders.
Across the whole of Major League Baseball, Judge’s 62nd home run of the season takes him to sixth on the all-time list, behind Barry Bonds (73), Mark McGwire (70, 65) and Sammy Sosa (66, 64, 63), although media reports have previously linked all three with performance-enhancing drug use.
The cracks had begun to show as Judge grew frustrated in the first game of the doubleheader
Judge hit his 61st home run of the season against the Blue Jays at the end of September
After a long wait, Judge finally dealt the historic blow in the seventh inning in Canada
As he made his way round the bases, Judge pointed towards his Yankees team watching on
Judge, Maris, and Babe Ruth – who Judge passed earlier in the season – remain free of any such allegations.
Judge though – a native Californian – still thinks the real mark belongs to Bonds, the scandalized former Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants legend.
‘That’s the record,’ said Judge, who graduated from Linden High School in San Joaquin County, about an hour and a half east of the San Francisco Bay. ‘I watched him do it. I stayed up late watching him do it. That’s the record. No one can take that from him.’
Speaking after levelling Maris’ record in Toronto last month, Judge said: ‘I was just trying to go up there, start a rally and get something going. It’s an incredible honor, a lot of emotions and it took me a little longer than I wanted it to.
‘It was a chance to add two more runs to the board and another win. I tried to soak in the moment, it worked out.
Judge has now overtaken Maris’ American League record, which he set 61 years ago in 1961
Judge’s mom and Roger Maris Jr shared a moment after the Yankees star hit his 61st last week
Each Yankee hugged Judge after he went round the bases after a seven-game wait for No. 61
‘Seeing the love from my team-mates, I do what I do for them, I will share that moment for them. I’m nothing without my family, they mean the world to me, the reason why I am here and the reason that I am who I am.
‘I gave a nod to Roger Maris JR, it means a lot that he showed up here. I love these moments, a moment like that, those are the moments you look for.’
There has been a lot of talk about the value of his 62nd home run ball, with some experts claiming it could be worth up to $10million in the future.
Judge acknowledged his mother, who was watching on from the stands, after he hit 61
Roger Maris Jr. (2nd L) talks with with Patty Judge (2nd R), the mother of New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge during a game between the Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays in the ninth inning at Rogers Centre on September 26
The 61st ball, meanwhile, has been valued at $2m, but it did not make it into the hands of any fan, dropping just short and into the Blue Jays’ bullpen, where a coach then gave it to Judge, who in turn gifted it to his mother.
Remarkably, Judge reached 61 homers 61 years after Maris set the record himself in 1961.
Judge is also in contention to win the Triple Crown by currently leading the American League in batting average (.313) and RBIs (130). If he went on to achieve rare feat, he would be the first Yankee to do so since Mickey Mantle did it 66 years ago.
Judge was drafted by the Yankees minor league in 2013, and he then signed a $1.8million contract, however he suffered from an injury and wasn’t able to participate that season.
Judge has been in unstoppable form this season and is on the verge of creating history
Judge has been pivotal to the Yankees’ dominance in the AL East but is out of contract soon
He played for the Yankees minor leagues from 2014 until 2016, when he was promoted to the major leagues.
During his 2017 rookie season, he broke many records – he hit a home run with the fastest exit velocity in history at the time and earned recognition for hitting the longest home run of the season.
By 2019, he became the third-fastest MLB player to hit 100 home runs and had the highest exit velocity average of the entire major leaguers, at 95.9mph.
Judge rejected a seven-year, $213.5million extension offer from New York before the season and is out of contract at the end of the campaign.
After struggling with injuries from 2019-20 and failing to recapture the form of his 52-home run rookie season, Judge had a strong 2021 and ultimately chose to play out his contract after deeming the Yankees’ offer too low.
Judge is now reportedly in line to command a $300m contract in free agency.