Aaron Judge’s march to 61 continued Wednesday when he hit his 55th homer of the season in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Twins.
Although many believe Judge will be deemed the new home run champion if he surpasses Roger Maris’ mark of 61 due to Barry Bonds’ PED ties, Judge himself has indicated that he is not a agreement, saying Bonds’ 73 homers are still the legitimate milestone.
“The record is the record,” Judge said after the Yankees swept the double bill against Minnesota. ” That’s what I think. I watched him as a child toss the ball into the bay with ease. That hasn’t changed.
Judge first expressed that sentiment in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, saying, “No one can take that away from him.” But the judge said he wasn’t looking for Bonds’ number or Maris’s, for that matter.
“I’m not really chasing or looking at anything,” Judge said of his rise in the home run rankings. “It’s just happening.”
And he’s not planning on shooting 73 either.
“Not really,” said the judge. “It was a pretty unreal year. It’s a hard number to catch.
Roger Maris Jr., is preparing for Judge to pass his late father’s milestone which was set in 1961 and said it was “disappointing” that Judge did not consider Maris’ record to be the real one.
“I think a lot of people still consider dad’s to be the real record,” Maris said over the phone. “So that surprised me.”
And he was somewhat surprised for another reason, since Judge will be a free agent after the season and although he gets a terrific contract even if he doesn’t hit another homer, he’d probably do even better if he was considered the true home run record holder.
“He’s got a lot at stake if that’s what he believes,” Maris said. “So he better start hitting more. Maybe he’s going after Bonds, with the way he’s been killing him lately.
Wednesday’s homer in Game 1 gave the judge home runs in four straight games. The recent hot streak also makes plans difficult for Maris, who would like to be in the game if the judge is about to get 62.
“It caught everyone off guard,” Maris said. “He is definitely killing him. I think we all expected him to get it at this point, but I don’t think anyone saw him go like that. Anything could happen, but at this point it looks like he’ll hit his mid-60s. And then, who knows?
His home run on Wednesday gave Judge the franchise record for a right-handed hitter, previously held by fellow PED-contaminated player Alex Rodriguez.
And he’s showing no signs of caring, which wasn’t the case when Maris tackled Babe Ruth’s record 60 in 1961.
“It shows how strong and consistent he is,” Maris said. “But the circumstances are very different. Dad was chasing Ruth and had [Mickey] Coat with him. No one wanted him to get it: the writers, the curator, the fans. It seems everyone is shooting for Judge.
Including Maris – up to a point.
“We love that dad has the record, but records are made to be broken and you have to love greatness and see it,” he said. “You’d be crazy not to applaud what he does.”