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Aaron Judge ties Roger Maris’ AL record with 61st homer of 2022

Judge’s 61st homer etches his name in history alongside the longtime American League home run king.

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

After the bomb last Tuesday that tied the Babe and catalyzed an electric Yankees comeback, Aaron Judge came into today’s showdown in Toronto still sitting on 60 home runs due to a comparatively quiet stretch against the Red Sox and Blue Jays — albeit one that featured plenty of walks. The MVP frontrunner’s inexorable march to a long-cherished home run record has captivated the sporting world, particularly in his chase over the past week.

At long last, Judge got No. 61 out of the way on Wednesday night at Rogers Centre. He stepped to the plate in the first inning, facing reliever Tim Mayza. And on a 3-2 pitch, Judge sent another ball careening into the night. His 61st smash of the season broke the tie at 5-3 while equaling Roger Maris atop not only the Yankees’ single-season record book, but also the American League’s as a whole.

It was only appropriate that Judge’s 61st homer came with Roger Maris Jr. in attendance for this record-tying shot in Toronto. Plenty of symmetry surrounds this magic number. Now, Judge and Maris stand alone as the kings of the American League, sharing one of the most hallowed records in all of baseball.

Judge’s superlative season, most recently punctuated by this record-breaking home run, is nowhere close to finished. Although it has been apparent for awhile that he would be at least threatening the league’s single-season home run record books, his torrid month of September has also put him in the lead for the AL Triple Crown, something no Yankee has done since Mickey Mantle accomplished the feat in 1956.

It has been an awe-inspiring privilege to watch and write about Aaron Judge’s 2022 season, one of the greatest offensive campaigns in the history of baseball. Now, it is for us to watch the final games of the campaign to see just how far Judge can push the envelope — to 62 and beyond. Each ball that does not go quietly into the night will extend his record and burnish his legend.