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. Let’s run through Game 145:
Aaron Judge through Game 145 of 2022: 57 HR
Team Game 145: 9/17 — 1-for-3, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K
As far as Judge’s home run chase goes, this day was not fruitful. He was carefully pitched against for the second night in a row, and this time faced a much tougher opponent in Brandon Woodruff. For his other historic chase, however, Judge did fairly decent for himself. His 1-for-3 night moved him up to a .312 batting average, just five points behind Minnesota’s Luis Arraez for first in the American League. Given that his lead in homers and RBI are untouchable at this point, that miniscule deficit in average could easily be reachable for a true Triple Crown chase.
Roger Maris through Game 145 of 1961: 56 HR
Team Game 145: 9/10 (2) — 1-for-3, 2 R, 1 BB
Nothing going for Maris here, though he did score both times he was on base in a Yankees rout of Cleveland. Mickey Mantle did go deep in this one for his 53rd homer of the year, just three behind Maris. It’s incredible to see how close the race between these two still was this late in the year, as one great day from Mantle could’ve closed the gap entirely.
Babe Ruth through Game 145 of 1927: 53 HR
Team Game 145: 9/17 (2) — 3-for-4, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Ruth was all over this one, slapping singles and earning an intentional walk to get on base a grand total of four times in one afternoon. Unfortunately, none of his hits left the yard and only his last hit drove in a run, when the Yankees scored three in the eighth to turn it from a comfortable lead into a laugher.
Barry Bonds through Game 145 of 2001: 63 HR
Team Game 145: 9/18 — 0-for-3, 1 BB, 1 K
Bonds’ incredible performance in the Giants’ last game didn’t get an immediate encore, as just two days later was September 11th and the baseball world went on pause for a week. When play resumed Bonds had a much tamer game, working a first-inning walk but otherwise failing to get on base. It wouldn’t take long for the superstar slugger to get back on the board, but those first days back were certainly a surreal moment for the sport.
Mark McGwire through Game 144 of 1998: 61 HR
Team Game 145: 9/8 — 1-for-2, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R, 2 BB
It was only a matter of when, not if, in 1998. 37 years after Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth’s single-season record for home runs, a new home run king entered the fold:
As far as blasts go, McGwire’s record-breaking homer wasn’t nearly as majestic as his record-tying one just a day earlier. That didn’t matter in the slightest though — once that ball crossed the fence, the celebration was on, and it was a spectacle. The Cubs in the infield all congratulated McGwire as he rounded the bases, and Sammy Sosa had a moment with him after McGwire’s teammates had properly mobbed him at home plate.
Sammy Sosa through Game 145 of 1998: 58 HR
Team Game 145: 9/8 — 1-for-4, 1 BB, 1 K
For the second day in a row, Sosa was subjected to being a spectator to history. Sosa had an average day as he otherwise watched McGwire eclipse Maris’ mark, getting on base twice and grounding into a double play. Though he wasn’t able to beat McGwire to 62, the race to set the new high-water mark was far from over — and Sosa would demonstrate that in just a few days.