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MLB

Toronto Blue Jays walk it off against the Yankees and Aaron Judge remains at 60 HRs

Baseball fans hoping to see Aaron Judge match Roger Maris’ record in Toronto were left wanting after the Jays took the 2-3 walk off win

Update:
Baseball fans hoping to see Aaron Judge match Roger Maris’ record in Toronto were left wanting after the Jays took the 2-3 walk off win
Vaughn RidleyAFP

There are three things going on in Toronto at the moment. The Blue Jays need to win three more to clinch a playoff berth, while the Yankees are trying to make sure that their seeding doesn’t drop which could conceivably see them lose either that first-round bye or home field in games one and two of the ALDS. And then there is Aaron Judge.

On the end of a barnstormer of a season, the Yankees outfielder is one home run away from tying Roger Maris’ American League Record 61 blasts.

American League all-time single-season home-runs

  1. Roger Maris, 1961 Yankees: 61
  2. Aaron Judge, 2022 Yankees: 60 and counting
  3. Babe Ruth, 1927 Yankees: 60
  4. Hank Greenberg, 1938 Tigers: 58
  5. Jimmie Foxx, 1932 Athletics: 58

While 61 home runs is a long way from the MLB single-season record of 73 set by Barry Bonds in 2001, it is a far more iconic achievement, principally because it is a record set by a Yankee, who overtook a Yankee, and held by a Yankee for over 60 years. If a Yankee breaks it, the stars will be seen to have aligned throughout the baseball universe in a very big way.

On Monday night, Judge went 1 for 3 with two walks including an intentional pass in the tenth inning to load the bases in a tied ball game. The Blue Jays’ reliever Tim Mayza managed to get Anthony Rizzo to ground out to end the inning, and Vlad Guerrero Jr. came up with a walk off single in the bottom half of the inning.

Interesting fodder for the analytics-vs-tradition debate that baseball seems to be locked into, and perhaps will remain in for years to come, you would think that a power hitter, a man who has made his name on blasting big shots and absorbing the strikeouts that necessarily accompany that approach to hitting would be expected to be all-in on the home run race. Judge, however, has made plain that he is not as impressed by power hitting, by home runs, or by WAR, as he is by good, old-fashioned average.

“For me, as a kid growing up, the average was the king. You wanted to be the guy with the best average, the highest average. For me, that’s a ballplayer. That’s the guy.”

“We may use batting titles. You know, Jose Altuve, he always hit .330 every year. They hit the ball and they get on the base. And that’s what it is about. So I always try to be a hitter first and then let my size provide the power.”

When asked if he would rather break Maris’ record or win the World Series, Judge did not hesitate to specify that he was here to bring a title back to New York.

And for those still hoping to see him reach Roger Maris’ record? Well, there is always tonight’s game. Who knows? It just might happen.

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