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 143:
Aaron Judge through Game 143 of 2022: 57 HR
Team Game 143: 9/14 — 1-for-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K
There wasn’t an encore performance in Fenway after Judge hit two out on Tuesday, as the big man had a relatively quiet night in another Yankees win. He did get to be a part of a wacky play when he scored off of Gleyber Torres’ single that became a little league home run thanks to Boston’s terrible defense, but sadly there were no legitimate home runs for the league leader to hit in this one.
Roger Maris through Game 143 of 1961: 56 HR
Team Game 143: 9/9 — 2-for-5, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 K
Maris was on a bit of a tear of his own at this point in the ‘61 season, and he continued it with his third homer in four games to claim No. 56. Maris tee’d off on Mudcat Grant (side note: excellent name) for a solo shot that cut the Yankees’ deficit to three runs in a game that they would ultimately walk-off. This puts Judge just a game ahead of Maris’ pace, but the M&M brother would enter his longest homer drought of the month after this night, meaning Judge has plenty of time to grow his lead.
Babe Ruth through Game 143 of 1927: 53 HR
Team Game 143: 9/16 — 1-for-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R
The Babe is still at the bottom of our race standings at this point, but the original home run king had a run still in him. He ran into one in this game in the third inning for a booming solo shot, putting the team ahead 3-0 in the process. Ruth’s 53rd was a majestic shot, but he only managed a handful of grounders around it — not to worry, the rest of the Murderers’ Row helped out and the Yankees won handily, 7-2.
Barry Bonds through Game 142 of 2001: 60 HR
Team Game 143: 9/8 — 1-for-5, 1 R, 1 K
This is the last game that Bonds played at an equal pace to the rest of his contemporaries — after the Giants’ next game he would be on a field all his own. Unfortunately, there isn’t much to talk about regarding his performance in this game, however. Jeff Kent was the hero on this day, earning three hits including a solo shot and three RBI to lead the way for a 7-3 win.
Mark McGwire through Game 143 of 1998: 60 HR
Team Game 143: 9/6 — 0-for-3, 1 R, 1 BB
McGwire didn’t go deep in this game, but he contributed a run in another Cardinals win that helped them rise back into average standing after looking dead in the waters a few weeks prior. This was St. Louis’ sixth win in their last seven games to get within four games under .500, which may not sound like much. Given the 1998 NL standings being so heavily weighted in the division leaders, however, they were technically alive in the playoff hunt thanks to this resurgence.
Sammy Sosa through Game 143 of 1998: 58 HR
Team Game 143: 9/6 — 2-for-5, 2 K
The team that McGwire desperately needed to collapse was Sosa’s Cubs, and though they had been matching St. Louis in wins up to this point they slipped up on this day with an extra-inning loss to the Pirates. Sosa tried to get his team on the board with a pair of hits and a free trip on the bases due to an error, but his teammates couldn’t send him home and he couldn’t find the long ball to do so himself.