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 137:
Aaron Judge through Game 137 of 2022: 55 HR
Team Game 137: 9/7 — 0-for-2, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 SB
Entering the second half of a doubleheader, Judge had homered in four straight games to jump ahead of Maris’ pace. He wouldn’t get an opportunity in this one though, working three walks as the league continues to be wary of offering him anything unless the situation requires them to pitch to the big man.
Roger Maris through Game 137 of 1961: 53 HR
Team Game 137: 9/4 (1) — 0-for-4
Maris didn’t have much to offer in this game, generating a couple of pop ups and lining into a double play in his first at-bat of the night. The Yankees were fine without Maris cranking one out, scoring in four of their last five frames to secure a 5-3 win over the Senators.
Babe Ruth through Game 137 of 1927: 49 HR
Team Game 137: 9/10 — 0-for-2, 2 BB
Much like Judge, Ruth wasn’t allowed many shots to get the ball in the air on this night. The Browns walked the Sultan of Swat twice, and the rest of the Yankee lineup struggled to do much with the respect paid to the league’s top slugger. The team only scored one run, but that would be all they needed behind a seven-hit shutout from Wilcy Moore. Ruth was lifted in the ninth for a defensive replacement, so if Moore had faltered in the end there wouldn’t have even been another chance for the Bambino.
Barry Bonds through Game 137 of 2001: 57 HR
Team Game 137: 9/2 — 0-for-3, 1 BB, 1 K
Following the trend so far, Bonds didn’t get anything to hit in his game either. The Rockies didn’t even avoid him heavily, allowing one walk but otherwise attacking Bonds and getting him to strikeout once. The rest of the Giants were able to scrounge up three runs off of Shawn Chacon and the ‘pen held that lead to put the Giants 15 games above .500.
Mark McGwire through Game 137 of 1998: 55 HR
Team Game 137: 8/30 — 3-for-3, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 3 R, 1 BB
Now we’ve got some intrigue. This day was great for the ‘98 race, and we start with McGwire’s day against Atlanta. McGwire had a solid day entering the seventh inning, when he stepped up to the plate with his team down two and with a pair of runners on with no outs. McGwire mashed a 1-0 Dennis Martinez offering into left-center, a three-run shot that gave him the lead back in the home run race and put the Cardinals ahead for good.
Sammy Sosa through Game 137 of 1998: 54 HR
Team Game 137: 8/30 — 1-for-3, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 CS
I say that McGwire had to take back the lead in his game, because in the first inning of the Cubs-Rockies game Sosa tied him with his 54th blast of the year. This one was a two-run bomb that proved crucial, as the Cubs would win this game by a narrow 4-3 final. This would be one of several points in September when Sosa briefly caught up to McGwire before the final push to history.