NEW YORK — Only five players had hit 60 home runs in a single season in major league history, that is, until New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge joined that exclusive club with a solo home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.
The All-Star outfielder is now one home run away from tying Roger Maris’ single-season American League record of 61 home runs, set in 1961, which also stood as the major league mark for 37 years.
With his 60th home run, the 6-foot-7 judge also tied Babe Ruth (1927) for eighth on the single-season home run list.
“I have to believe he’s out there with some of the best, a very short list of all-time seasons, what he’s doing,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said, speaking about Judge’s late-night chase for the baseball history. “Obviously our focus is on winning and what’s at stake for us as a team. But within that, seeing what he’s doing, you certainly realize what a special season you’re witnessing.”
There have been nine 60-home run seasons in MLB history, hit by six different players. Judge was joined by Hall of Famers Ruth and Maris, as well as Barry Bonds (2001), Mark McGwire (1999, 1998) and Sammy Sosa (2001, 1999, 1998).
Judge’s 59 home runs were already the most by a right-handed hitter in American League history. Judge had already joined Ruth (four) and Mickey Mantle (two) as the third member of the storied Yankees franchise to have multiple 50-HR seasons in pinstripes.
But Maris’ home run record isn’t the only milestone Judge is chasing.
Judge’s batting average before Tuesday was .316, one point shy of Minnesota Twins first baseman Luis Arraez’s AL lead. Judge, who is almost certain to lead the league in home runs and RBIs (127), has a chance to become the 11th player to win the Triple Crown since RBIs became official in 1920.