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 148:
Aaron Judge through Game 148 of 2022: 60 HR
Team Game 148: 9/21 — 2-for-4, 2 2B, 2 R, 1 BB
Ho-hum. No dingers for Judge, but he still managed a couple of hard-hit doubles. The most disappointing part of the night was actually Judge’s last plate appearance, which came after an unlikely rally in the eighth. Gleyber Torres led off the home half of the inning, with everyone in the stadium aware that the Yankees would need at least four batters to reach to earn Judge another shot at history. The whole lineup seemed to rally for him, with the first four hitters of the inning, and five of the first six, all reaching base.
But Pirates pitcher Eric Stout clearly had no intention of becoming the man the yielded Judge’s 61st homer, pitching around the slugger and issuing a four-pitch walk. Judge would have to settle for a homerless but still excellent night, with his pair of extra-base hits and three times on base in five appearances. The performance pushed his wRC+ on the year to an unspeakable 211.
Roger Maris through Game 148 of 1961: 56 HR
Team Game 148: 9/14 (2) — 1-for-3, 1 1B, 1 K
Fifth straight homerless game for Roger, which makes one wonder if fans and observers were starting to get restless. Maris stands four homers shy of Ruth with 15 games to go. He remains exactly on pace for 61, but it stands to reason that many in the middle of September of 1961 must’ve been thinking that perhaps the weight of history would be just too great to bear, and that Maris would fall just shy.
Babe Ruth through Game 148 of 1927: 55 HR
Team Game 148: 9/21 — 3-for-5, 1 HR, 2 1B, 1 R, 1 RBI
Ruth managed number 55 in the ninth inning of a game the Yankees trailed 6-0, and would lose 6-1. No matter, even if Ruth couldn’t really move the needle for the Yankees that day, he pushed closer to breaking his own home run mark. This was his second consecutive day with a dinger, and he now stood four short of the major league record.
Barry Bonds through Game 148 of 2001: 64 HR
Team Game 148: 9/21 — 1-for-3, 1 1B, 1 RBI, 1 BB
The Giants and Padres played a very quiet game this day, with neither Bonds nor any other player able to produce fireworks. Bonds did drive in one of the two runs scored on the day with an RBI single in a 2-0 Giants victory, but the two teams were able to produce just one extra-base hit between them, a double by Damian Jackson off of Jason Schmidt.
Mark McGwire through Game 148 of 1998: 62 HR
Team Game 148: 9/11 — 1-for-4, 1 1B, 1 BB
McGwire would remain stuck on 62 for a little longer, giving Sosa a window back into the race. He didn’t do much in this game, as St. Louis lost 8-2, thanks to a managerial decision you would almost never see in today’s game. Starter Matt Morris managed seven solid innings, allowing two runs (and striking out just one). But rather than pull him as he neared 100 pitches and was about to face the top of the order a fourth time, Tony La Russa sent Morris out for the eighth with the game tied 2-2. Morris promptly allowed six runs in the frame, and the Cards dropped to 72-75 on the season.
Sammy Sosa through Game 148 of 1998: 59 HR
Team Game 148: 9/11 — 2-for-5, 1 HR, 1 1B, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 K
Sammy is back in the fight, smashing his first dinger in a week to pull within three of McGwire. This one was a towering opposite-field shot, over the bleachers and out of Wrigley:
Sosa still remained three back of McGwire, but he showed he could bounce back from getting beaten to number 62. Soon enough, he would pull back to level with his rival.