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 didn’t play their scheduled Game 136 yesterday, but since they’ll play two today, we’ll go through how the rest of the field did in their respective Game 136’s and then hit Game 137 as scheduled tomorrow.
Aaron Judge through Game 136 of 2022: 55 HR
Team Game 136: 9/7 — 1-for-3, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K
Give Aaron Judge some credit: He was the only member of this group to homer in Game 136! Even without much protection in one of the least-inspiring lineups of the season, the Twins gave him a pitch to hit. Starter Louie Varland mostly handled the Yankees otherwise in his MLB debut, but Judge destroyed a middle-middle changeup from him in the fifth, belting No. 55 to set a new franchise record for most single-season homers by a right-handed hitter.
Note: This post has been updated from this morning to reflect Judge’s Game 136.
Roger Maris through Game 136 of 1961: 53 HR
Team Game 136: 9/3 — 1-for-4, 1 1B, 1 R, 2 K
Maris wasn’t able to follow up his big game from the day before, managing just a single and a couple of strikeouts in four times at the plate. Instead, it was Mickey Mantle’s turn to surge, with Mantle putting together a two-dinger game of his own. Mantle remained three behind at 50 dingers, but stayed in contact with his teammate in the home run race.
Babe Ruth through Game 136 of 1927: 49 HR
Team Game 136: 9/9 — 2-for-3, 2 1B, 4 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 SF
No dinger for Ruth today, though he had one of his best games of the year in which he didn’t go deep. Ruth had both a go-ahead and game-tying single at various points in the game, as the Yankees eventually pulled away to win 9-3 over the St. Louis Browns.
Barry Bonds through Game 136 of 2001: 57 HR
Team Game 136: 9/1 — 0-for-1, 1 BB
It was mostly an off-day for the 37-year-old, who pinch-hit in the bottom of the eighth of a tie game and was promptly intentionally walked by Mike Hampton. Hampton would get the desired double play ball after the IBB, but Andrés Galarraga delivered a walk-off homer off Justin Speier the next inning to deliver San Francisco the win. Here’s a look at that one so that we don’t risk going through this whole article without footage of an actual non-Judge dinger:
Mark McGwire through Game 136 of 1998: 54 HR
Team Game 136: 9/3 — 0-for-1, 1 K
Like Bonds, McGwire only came up once in this game, but for a much different reason: McGwire struck out and blew a gasket in the batter’s box, getting himself ejected and costing himself precious plate appearances. McGwire had been arguing a strike call by umpire Sam Holbrook, who you may remember as the ump that made the controversial infield fly rule in the first NL Wild Card Game. McGwire actually defended Holbrook after the game, and was critical of the St. Louis crowd for littering the field with objects after the ejection:
Sammy Sosa through Game 136 of 1998: 53 HR
Team Game 136: 8/28 — 1-for-4, 1 1B, 2 K
No homer for Sammy, and thus all five of the players we’re monitoring in relation to Judge went homerless for Game 136. The Cubs did get a homer from Glenallen Hill on this day, so I’ll take the chance to link to a different Hill dinger, his iconic Wrigleyville rooftop home run from May of 2000: