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MLB

What is the MLB National League single season home run record?

The single season homerun record is one of the most coveted records in all of sports, but who the actual King of the Long Ball is up for debate.

Update:
The single season homerun record is one of the most coveted records in all of sports, but who the actual King of the Long Ball is up for debate.
DUSTIN SATLOFFAFP

Baseball has become America’s pastime over the last two centuries. Young kids grow up playing catch in the front yard, taking their talents to the diamond for Little League and if they are lucky enough make it all the way to the big leagues. There are few legends in American culture more mythical than the baseball hero’s of yesteryear. Legends are made on the diamond, but also in the stat sheets, and there is no stat more important the homerun.

Controversy surrounds baseball’s most important record

The single season homerun record is baseball’s most coveted record, but it’s a record that is shrouded in controversy and uncertainty as to who is the King of the Long Ball.

Babe Ruth was the original homerun record holder, after hitting 60 homers in 1927. That record would stand for 34 years before Roger Maris cracked his 61st home run on October 1st, 1961 in the final game of the New York Yankees regular season. That night at Yankee Stadium the right fielder made Major League History, by setting a new standard for the most coveted record in the sport.

Maris’ 61 homers would not be broken until until the end of the millennium, when Mark McGwire hit an astonishing 70 homers in 1998. Both he and Sammy Sosa had the baseball world, the sports world and the entire world glued to their TV sets for every at bat for the second half of the season as the St. Louis Cardinal and the Chicago Cub had 61 homeruns in the cross hairs.

McGwire, Bonds’ records headline steroid era

Both eventually caught, and broke the record of 61, but McGwire was the first to hit 62 on September 8th. He would go on to hit eight more long balls, and demolishing a record that was previously thought to be unbreakable. Sosa ended the year with 66 and for decades those two were at the summit of baseball’s most beloved record.

It wasn’t long before Barry Bonds broke McGwire’s record that stood for just three years before the San Francisco Giant jacked a breaking ball just short of McCubby Cove to take the single season homerun record with 71. He would end the season with 73 and take be crowned baseball’s new Home Run King.

You might go to Google and search baseball’s single season homerun record holders, and Barry Bond’s name will be at the top of the list, but there are many who would argue that Bonds’ name should not even appear on the list. In the end he, McGwire and Sosa remain on the list, but with the world knowing what the asterisks next to their names mean. The steroid era was without question one of the most exciting to watch in the history of the MLB, but one of the sports darkest moments.

No asterisks next to Judge’s name

The three top names on the homerun list were all accused of using steroids during their careers and during their record setting campaigns. For two decades there was debate to whether Bonds should be considered the single season record holder, or is Roger Maris still holds that title with his 61 all natural homers.

Just as the debate was dying down, Aaron Judge reignited the conversation by hitting 62 homeruns last year. Many consider the current New York Yankee as the Home Run King, because he broke Maris’ record with no juice, no cheating, just raw, explosive talent.

The debate will rage on as to who is the MLB’s true Home Run King, but that’s what makes baseball so special, and what has made it America’s pastime over the last few centuries. Fans will argue over the best pitcher ever, the best hitter ever, the best team ever. Baseball proves that even something as concrete as statistics can still be debated for the rest of time, and that’s one of the reasons Americans have an endless love affair with the sport.