Aaron Judge…See Ya!

Michelle Smith, Sports Editor

September 28, 2022. 9:10 PM. 61 years after Roger Maris set the American League record for home runs hit in a season and just one day after the New York Yankees clinched the AL East Division. It’s the top of the 7th and Yankees slugger Aaron Judge is up to bat against the Toronto Blue Jays with one goal in mind… tying the record. Batting first in the lineup, Judge has been intentionally walked at bat after at bat while chasing the new record. With his mom and Roger Maris’s son, Roger Maris Jr, watching from the stands, and countless fans watching from home, Judge swings at the pitch and gets a home run off of Blue Jays pitcher Tim Mayza to secure his 61st run of the season and tie the record. 

After the game, the press caught up with Judge and Marris Jr to ask their questions about the chase and eventual hit to tie Maris’ record. About Judge, Maris Jr. said “he should be revered” and continued to say, “He’s clean, he’s a Yankee, he plays the game the right way. He should be revered for being the actual single-season home run champ. That’s really who he is, and if he hits 62, I think that’s what needs to happen.” Roger Maris Sr. died in 1985, 24 years after setting the AL home run record. In his place, his two sons and daughter have been following the Yankees for the last 9 games waiting for Judge to tie their father’s record, but Roger Maris Jr was the only child to cross the Canadian border with Aaron Judges’ mother to see him hit number 61. “Dad would be very proud of Aaron because of the way he carries himself,” Maris said. “The way he comes to the ballpark everyday, mentally prepared, physically prepared. He’s all about doing the team thing, all about winning. He’s all about focusing on winning a championship and bringing a world championship to New York and put number 28 up on the wall.” When Maris and Judge finally met in the hallway outside of the visitor’s clubhouse, Maris asked, “Why did you wait so long?” Judge wants to keep his conversation with Maris Jr to himself, but divulged how he thanked him post game saying, “I really thanked him and told him what an honor it was, getting a chance to be associated with his father. You dream about things like that. And for him to come to all the home games, come down here to Toronto and support and be there, this definitely means a lot.” 

After the game, Judge, who is chasing both the home run record and the Triple Crown, gifted the ball he hit for 61 to his mother, Patty Judge. His reasoning, “I’m nothing without my family… Getting to share this moment with my mom, and trying to give a little nod to Roger Maris Jr, it means a lot that he shows up here too,” and he goes on to explain how she’s been supporting him since the Little League days after she and her husband, Wayne adopted Aaron at just two days old. However abundant Patty Judges’ support for her son has been, it is important to also mention Aaron’s wife, Samantha, and father, Wayne who helped Judge reach this point in his career. 

About his accomplishment, Judge said, “It’s an incredible honor, getting the chance to be associated with one of the Yankee greats, one of baseball’s greats, to be enshrined with him forever, you know. Words can’t describe it.”  About the hit he said, “There’s definitely some relief getting to 61. You try not to think about it, but it creeps into your head.” He later says, “When I hit it, I thought I got enough, but it’s been a couple games since I did that, so you never really know if it going to get out or not, so I tried to spin around the bases a little bit, and then once it got over the fence, I just felt relief that, now we’re leaving the game. Getting a chance to sit at 60 for a while there with the Babe (Babe Ruth who held the record at 60 before Maris hit 61) was nice, but the chance to now sit at 61 with another Yankee right fielder who hit 61 home runs, and won MVPs and and world champions, this is pretty cool.”

Friday, September 30th is Judge’s next chance to hit number 62 and break the tie   for the American League Home Run record against the Orioles in the Bronx at Yankee stadium. Like every game up to this point, New Yorkers and baseball fans everywhere will be watching, waiting and cheering him on.

Update 10/4/2022 Aaron Judge has hit his 62nd home run to set the new American League home run record at the first at bat of tonight’s game against the Texas Rangers. The regular MLB season ends tomorrow, October 5th and then Judge and the Yankees will take on the post season.