Yankees slugger Aaron Judge mashes 62nd homer to break AL single-season record – The Denver Post


ARLINGTON — Aaron Judge smiled and exhaled, running around the bases as the ball just sailed over the left-field fence. It had been almost a week since the Yankees slugger had looked so relaxed, so happy. It had been six days since Judge had hit his last home run. It took just three pitches into the nightcap of a split doubleheader on Wednesday night when Judge slammed a slider off Rangers right-hander Jesus Tinoco for his record-setting 62nd home run of the season.

In the 161st game of the 2022 season, Judge broke the American League single-season home run record of 61, set by Yankee Roger Maris 61 years ago. He stands alone atop the AL and is just the fourth man in baseball history to hit 62 home runs in a season and has the seventh most all-time.

“Oh, it’s a big relief. I think everybody could probably sit down in their seats and watch the ballgame now,” Judge said with a laugh after the Yankees’ 3-2 loss. “It’s been a fun ride so far, getting a chance to do this. The team we got‚ the guys surrounded me with constant support, support from my family, who’s been with me there through this whole thing. It’s been a great honor.”

Judge, who led off the game, seemed to know he had the record pretty quickly.

“I had a good feeling off the bat. I just didn’t know where it was gonna land or what it was gonna hit,” Judge said. “There was a good sense of relief once I saw it land in that fans’ glove and we’re up 1-0 and I could go out and watch Gerrit [Cole] make history.”

The Yankees dugout, on the top step for all his at-bats over the last two weeks, watched the ball sail and then exploded onto the field.

Judge jogged home where his teammates were celebrating. He shook hands with Giancarlo Stanton, the last man in baseball to hit 59 homers, then hugged his way through the pack. Before heading down the dugout stairs, he took off his batting helmet and pointed over to his family, who have followed him for most of this journey since he hit No. 59 in Milwaukee on Sept. 18.

“I was thinking of my wife and my family. My teammates and just the fans. That was all that was kind of running through my head just the constant support, I’ve gotten through this whole process and this whole year,” Judge said.

“I had quite a few emotions,” he added.

Judge got one more at-bat, striking out to end the top of the second inning. He went out to right field to start the third, but manager Aaron Boone sent out Oswaldo Cabrera out to replace him, allowing the crowd at Globe Life to give Judge one last standing ovation.

The 62 home runs are obviously the most ever by a Yankee and are 11 behind Barry Bonds’ record of 73 in 2001. Many, like Roger Maris, Jr., consider that mark and those of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa tainted. They did it before drug testing in baseball and there is a strong suspicion that they used performance enhancing drugs to reach these numbers.

Judge, who grew up in the Bay Area watching Bonds hit 73, considers that the MLB record.

“It was amazing,” Boone said. “You never know how you’re gonna react in the moment. And it was just so so very cool. I mean, I felt like a little kid, because it wasn’t necessarily a no-doubter, but you thought he got it. You’re just kind of with your mouth open and then you see it go and to see the eruption in the dugout. You don’t know how you’re gonna react. We’ve been waiting for this and hoping for it and obviously excited about it, but it was special.”

It was his 28th plate appearance since hitting No. 61 in the seventh inning of a Sept 28 win in Toronto. That ended a seven-game, 34-plate appearance homerless streak for Judge.

He had started each of the Yanks’ last 55 games trying to get this record, including the first game of this doubleheader. Judge went 1-for-5 in that 5-4 win and showed some frustration. After a high pop up in the fifth inning, Judge went to the back of the dugout and slammed his batting helmet so hard into the rack it bounced back out.

Tuesday, Judge had some pitches to hit and was a little more aggressive than he had been before and it paid off in the first inning of the night game.

Judge said he would like to play in Wednesday’s season finale and maybe go for another home run. Boone said he’d like to give Judge the day off, but it would be up for discussion.

Either way, Judge made history in a season that began with him turning down a contract extension from the Yankees worth $230 million and betting on himself.

“In my book it is just another day. Wish we would have gotten the win,” said Judge, including Gerrit Cole, who broke the Yankees single-season strikeout record Tuesday night in his moment. “That would have made it a little sweeter for me and Gerrit.”



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