Sixty-one years after Roger Maris pursued Babe Ruth’s record to the awe of baseball fans throughout the world, Aaron Judge now stands new record holder in the American League.
Breaking the record:
Following the grueling chase of the record set by Maris in the 1961 MLB season, on October 4th, 2022, Aaron Judge edged out Maris’s record by one home run. He now stands alone as the American League’sresident home-run king. He shares this honour with two of his predecessors as Yankees right fielders, Roger Maris and Babe Ruth.
In an interview with Jon Morosi, Judge stated “I tried to enjoy every single moment,” Judge said. “I didn’t think about, ‘Hey, they’re all on their feet to see you hit a home run.’ I tried to think about, ‘Hey, they’re here to see an exciting ballgame and see something special.’ Having that mindset helped me stay pretty calm, but there was definitely a little pressure in there.”
For a player on the verge of breaking a 60-year-old record, the pressure is undoubtedly immense. Without the support of his friends, family, and coaches growing up, Judge couldn’t have accomplished this feat. ” I can’t stand up here and say this is a great accomplishment for me, this is for my friends, family, and coaches,” he said in the same interview with Jon Morosi.
Making the opportunity:
“Just an all-time great season,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone. “He’s been the leader of this team, for a division-winning team, one for which he’s gotten big hit after big hit. I think it’s a historically great season, and one we’ll talk about when we’re long gone.”
Judge almost didn’t manage to break Maris’s record. With three regular-season games left, Boone wanted Judge to break the record and was prepared to give him every opportunity to do so. In the first game of a doubleheader Judge performed well, notching a run, yet no home runs.
It was in the second game that Judge managed to launch an 88.4 MPH pitch almost 400 feet to left field breaking the record.
Although Judge was not able to break the all-time home run in a season record held by Barry Bonds with 73, the season that Judge had this year will be considered one of the greatest of all time, and certainly the greatest in the modern era of baseball.
With the differences in technology, strategy, and skill that the modern MLB has improved upon, achieving a season better than that of an all-time great is incredibly difficult. With the ERA (Earned Run Average) of a pitcher in 2001, at the time of Bonds’ record, being 4.41, and in 2022, being 3.96, it is evident that pitching has improved significantly since the era when the all-time record was set.
It is because of this that it seems like Bonds’ record will be untouchable in the modern era of baseball. Judge, however, is only 30 years old and has a long career ahead of him. It could be possible that Judge manages to do the impossible and break Bonds’; record by the time his career is done.
Published by HOLR Magazine