Welcome back to the Aaron Judge Home Run Record Tracker! We’re taking a daily look at where Aaron Judge’s monster season tracks compared to some of the other historic single-season home run leaders in anticipation of Judge potentially joining their ranks. We’ll be going by Team Game because not every player’s seasons were in sync with the calendar days and everyone didn’t play all of the team’s games, which makes this our universal standard. Now, onto Game 140:
Aaron Judge through Game 140 of 2022: 55 HR
Team Game 140: 9/10 — 3-for-4, 1 RBI, 1 K
Aaron Judge increased his pursuit of a possible late Triple Crown run yesterday, but while he collected a trio of hits, none of them went for extra bases. He was held in check for the fourth game in a row, which has put him firmly behind Mark McGwire’s 1998 pace with 1961 Roger Maris on his heels. I have no doubt that Judge will take the trade-off for the blowout win, but he needs the dingers to pick up again. Maybe improved offensive support in the lineup will help him see more pitches if his teammates can be more consistent.
Roger Maris through Game 140 of 1961: 54 HR
Team Game 140: 9/6 — 1-for-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 GIDP
After nearly a week without a homer, Maris got back on the board with an assist from the good ol’ “First in war, first in peace, last in the American League” Washington Senators. Maris broke a scoreless tie against right-hander Tom Cheney (of 21-strikeout fame) with a shot into the bullpen that out in right at field at the original Yankee Stadium. That broke the dam for the Yankees, who eventually won by a score of 8-0 with four more long balls (two from catcher Johnny Blanchard) and a shutout by Whitey Ford.
Babe Ruth through Game 140 of 1927: 52 HR
Team Game 140: 9/13 (2) — 1-for-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 K
Maris needed that circuit clout to stay ahead of Babe Ruth’s pace because the Bambino just kept clubbing bombs left and right in September 1927. He dingered for the third game in a row and for the second time in this doubleheader against Cleveland, launching one off Scranton-born southpaw Joe Shaute for No. 52. The Yankees swept the twin bill with matching 5-3 victories.
Barry Bonds through Game 140 of 2001: 59 HR
Team Game 140: 9/5 — 0-for-2, 1 BB, 1 K
Facing the eventual champion Diamondbacks, Barry Bonds actually got to Curt Schilling for three homers in his record-setting 2001 season, but the playoff hero was the one who had the last laugh in this one. Schilling dominated the Giants for his 20th win of the year (a runner-up Cy Young campaign to teammate Randy Johnson), overpowering Bonds on a first-inning strikeout and inducing a routine fly in his only other official at-bat.
Mark McGwire through Game 140 of 1998: 59 HR
Team Game 140: 9/2 — 2-for-3, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 1 GIDP
For the second consecutive game, McGwire went deep not once, but twice, as he stepped on the gas in his pursuit of Maris’ record. The hapless 1998 Marlins were brutalized by “Big Mac” in this series after miraculously holding him hitless in the opener. It was already a 9-0 Cardinals blowout when he came up to bat in the seventh on September 2nd with most of the 45,170 still in attendance, hoping to see the home run race rage on.
McGwire made the wait worth their while, as he sailed No. 58 into the distant left-field upper deck at Pro Player Stadium. At the time, it was measured at 497 feet. A tiny part of reliever Brian Edmondson had to be glad that he was not the only Marlins pitcher victimized by McGwire on the night, as one inning later, the larger-than-life slugger moved past Hank Greenberg and Jimmie Foxx for third place on the single-season record roll call with No. 59 off Rob Stanifer. It was the most ever hit by a right-handed batter.
Sammy Sosa through Game 140 of 1998: 56 HR
Team Game 140: 9/2 — 2-for-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI
Poor Sammy. He probably thought that he might chip away at McGwire’s home run lead when he send an opposite-field missile over the right-field wall at Wrigley Field against former All-Star Jason Bere. That tied him with the Cubs’ single-season home run king Hack Wilson at 56 and put him one behind McGwire (who just dethroned Wilson of his all-time National League crown the previous day). But somehow, he ended up losing pace when the Cardinals’ superstar clubbed two bombs in Miami. Tough crowd. At least he got to savor a come-from-behind 4-2 Cubs win over the Reds.