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.
The Yankees were off yesterday, so the race between Judge and history hasn’t much moved. As we did the last time the Yankees had a travel day, we’ll take the chance to look at some other historic campaigns. Both Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa followed up their 1998 chase with nearly as impressive 1999 seasons, and the latter had a remarkable 2001 that was overshadowed by Barry Bonds’ 73 homers that season. We’ll also look at Giancarlo Stanton’s pace during his incredible 2017.
Giancarlo Stanton through Game 141 of 2017: 53 HR
Team Game 141: 9/8 — 0-for-0, 1 BB, 1 R
Stanton entered seven shy of 60, but was granted an off-day, pinch-hitting in the ninth inning of a 3-1 game. He was promptly intentionally walked, and would eventually come around to score as the Marlins broke things open in a 7-1 win in Atlanta. (Stanton did belt No. 54 off Max Fried the next day, which we won’t cover, but please enjoy it.)
Mark McGwire through Game 141 of 1999: 54 HR
Team Game 141: 9/8 — 1-for-4, 1 1B, 1 K
We check in on McGwire as he goes through a mini-slump, with just two hits in his previous 20 at-bats. The slump wouldn’t last long, as McGwire was about to go on a tear to finish off his remarkable ‘99 campaign, one would that include homers in six of his final seven games to push to a total of 65 on the year.
Sammy Sosa through Game 141 of 1999: 59 HR
Team Game 141: 9/10 — 0-for-6, 3 K
Sammy actually had a sizable lead on his rival McGwire at this point, five homers clear with 21 games to go. This game obviously didn’t do much to help his case, with Sosa failing to reach base in six tries and coming away with a hat trick of K’s against three different Astros to show for it. By WPA, it was among the six worst games Sosa played in 1999. Of course, the effort only served to bring his triple slash for the year to .297/.372/.670.
Sammy Sosa through Game 141 of 2001: 53 HR
Team Game 141: 9/8 — 1-for-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI
Nothing much doing today for these players across the board. Sosa was coming off an unreal month of August, one in which he hit 17 home runs, but he fell on relatively hard times to start September. Bonds continued to mash at this point in 2001, so what was once a tight home run race had started to open up, with Bonds seven homers clear and well on his way to 73.
And here’s a reminder of how our primary historic homer seasons were going through 141 games, including Madison’s excerpt on Judge from yesterday:
Aaron Judge through Game 141 of 2022: 55 HR
Team Game 141: 9/11 — 1-for-4, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 K, sacrifice fly
Aaron Judge has been on a tear lately, and he continued his hot hitting with another base knock in this game. On top of that, he lifted a sacrifice fly for his league-leading 121st RBI of the season. Other than that though, there isn’t much to report — it’s been a few days since Judge has hit one out now. While that’s concerning for our chase here, it has been nice to see the offense thrive without Judge forcing it into motion singlehandedly.