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Aaron Judge breaks American League record with his 62nd home run of 2022

There’s a new AL single-season home run king, and his name is Aaron Judge.

MLB: Game One-New York Yankees at Texas Rangers Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

History has been made on a Tuesday night in Texas. Aaron Judge launched his 62nd home run on an offering from the Rangers’ Jesús Tinoco and now stands as the single-season American League home run champion. The 2022 journey has been nothing short of incredible and now it’s officially in the record books. This year’s Yankees have been both extremely fun to watch at times and extremely infuriating to watch at times, but Judge has simply never faltered.

After taking a week to get over the hump and tie Roger Maris with his 61st home run on Wednesday, Judge finally broke the AL record that’s coincidentally held firm for 61 years. Following a few shaky games against the Orioles and Rangers, No. 99 did what he does best and clobbered a 1-1 slider from Tinoco over the left-field fence to lead off the Yankees’ 161st game of 2022. With his 62nd home run of the year and 220th bomb of his young career, Judge ensured that he stands alone in the franchise record books.

Judge started his MLB career with a home run in his first at-bat, and the next year, he set a new standard for the most homers ever hit by a rookie. On his way to winning the 2017 Home Run Derby in Miami, Judge told literal NASA scientists that even they have no answers for his abilities.

The moral of the story is this: you can bring together the brainpower of the world’s smartest building engineers, combine it with every bit of local atmospheric data, add to it the computational power of NASA, and you still can’t Judge-proof a ballpark.

And now, Judge has hit more home runs in a single season than every other American League player in history. The only MLB players to hit more are National Leaguers Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa.

At the beginning of each baseball season when the Pinstripe Alley staff does our predictions, I’ve always put Aaron Judge to hit 74 home runs. Partially it’s because I tend to just not overthink predictions and have fun, but there’s also a part of me that genuinely feels like if anyone’s going to do it, it’s going to be him. The way this year was going for him, by June I was confident that he was at least going to get past 61 but part of me genuinely thought there was a shot at 74 as well. There’s not enough time left in the season to get there now, but I guess it’s good to have goals for the future as well.

Since bursting onto the scene in 2016, much has been written about Aaron Judge, the person he is both on and off the field, and his baseball abilities. Still, I don’t think enough has been said about him and at the same time I think everyone’s overthinking it and as my PSA predictions have shown, I’m not one to overthink things. The man is simply incredible and that’s all that needs to be said.

One final thought specifically directed to Hal Steinbrenner: PAY. THE. MAN.