Yankees star Judge hits 62nd homer to break Maris’ AL record

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Aaron Judge took a smooth, powerful swing, then flashed a big smile as he trotted around the bases. On his way home, his teammates backed off, leaving him to touch the plate alone.

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Finally, the New York Yankees slugger held the American League home run record all to himself.

Judge hit his 62nd home run of the season Tuesday night, breaking Roger Maris’ American League record and setting what some fans consider baseball’s “clean” standard.

“In my book, it’s just another day,” the stoic Judge said.

Judge said he felt “quite a lot of emotions” after tuning in, thinking of his family, fans and supporters. He said it will probably be after the season until he really sinks in and appreciates the significance of his achievement.

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After slamming his helmet on in a rare display of frustration when he went homeless in Game 1 of the doubleheader against the Rangers in Texas, Judge hit the third pitch of the nightcap into the front row of seats in left field. .

This trip around the goals after a long chase was certainly a mixture of pure joy and relief for number 99, whose only homer in the previous 13 games had been when he equaled Maris’ 61 last Wednesday in Toronto. .

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The judge also did it just in time, homering on the penultimate day of the regular season.

“There’s definitely a bit of pressure in there,” he said.

Barry Bonds holds the major league record of 73 homers, set with the San Francisco Giants in 2001.

The judge’s scoring ball was caught by Dallas’ Cory Youmans, who was seated in Section 31. When asked what he was going to do with the ball while being safely taken away to have the ball authenticated, Youmans replied, “Good question. I did not think about it.

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When asked after the 3-2 loss if he had regained the ball, the judge replied ‘not yet’.

” I do not know where it is. It would be great to get it back,” he said.

The judge also praised the fan for making a “good catch” and said the man had every right to keep the precious memory.

Another fan was escorted away after jumping over the rail into a gap between the seats and the left field wall. The crowd of 38,832 was Texas’ third sold-out of the season.

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Almost as soon as Judge connected on a 1-1 slider from right-hander Jesus Tinoco, his Yankees teammates left the dugout to celebrate with him. But they stayed away from home plate – letting him walk on it before sharing hugs and high-fives.

New York ended up losing Game 2 after winning Game 1 5-4. With one game left in the regular season, the split left the Yankees with a proper 99-62 record — the judge’s number and his homer total.

Judge’s mother and father were in the stands to watch the 30-year-old outfielder end a five-game no-homer streak, including the previous game Tuesday when he was 1-for-5 with a single.

The Maris family wasn’t in Texas after following Judge for a while, but Roger Maris Jr. tweeted“Congratulations to Aaron Judge and his family on Aaron’s number 62 home run! It was definitely a baseball season to remember. You are all classy and someone who should be revered. For the MAJORITY of fans, we can now celebrate a new CLEAN HOME RUN KING!!”

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When the top of first base ended and Judge went to take his place in right field, he wore the glove and cap of first baseman DJ LeMahieu, who patted his back.

Fans in right field cheered on Judge loudly as he warmed up by tossing a fly ball back and forth with center fielder Harrison Bader. The judge then provided another souvenir ball when he threw the one he had warmed up several rows deep.

Judge, eligible to become a free agent after this season, retired on a full pitch when hitting again in the second.

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He took his place on the right field late in the set before manager Aaron Boone pulled him out of the game. Oswaldo Cabrera, who was on second base, moved to right field and the slugger received another loud ovation as he raced back to the Yankees dugout on the third base side.

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The reaction quickly came from far beyond the ballpark.

“History made, more history to be made” President Joe Biden posted on Twitter.

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Tweeted former Yankees star Derek Jeter: “Congratulations @TheJudge44 on 62! Post-season next!!! ”

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Former president Bill Clinton also tweeted his congratulationsas did former MLB players like Paul O’Neill, Dwight Gooden, Dave Winfield and Ryan Howard.

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Maris’ 61 for the Yankees had been topped six times before, but all were marred by the stench of steroids. Adding to Bonds’ record, Mark McGwire hit 70 for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998 and 65 the following year. Sammy Sosa had 66, 65 and 63 for the Chicago Cubs during a four-season span starting in 1998.

McGwire admitted to using banned steroids, while Bonds and Sosa denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs. Major League Baseball began testing penalties for PEDs in 2004, and some fans — perhaps many — have so far viewed Maris as the rightful record holder.

A Ruthian figure with a smile as outsized as his body, the 6ft 7in judge rocked the major leagues with a series of deep workouts that listen to the sepia film reels of his legendary pinstripe predecessors.

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The last drink in Texas doubles was his 55th consecutive game that Judge had played since Aug. 5.

He had gone 3 for 17 with five walks and one hit per pitch since surpassing the 60 homers hit by Babe Ruth in 1927, which had been the major league record for 34 years. Maris hit his 61st against Boston’s Tracy Stallard at Old Yankee Stadium on October 1, 1961.

Judge has a shot at becoming the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012. He leads the AL with 131 RBIs and started the day behind Minnesota’s Luis Arraez, who was hitting .315.

With the home run and strikeout in Game 2, he was hitting .311, exactly where he started the day before before dropping a run in Game 1.

The judge’s accomplishment will cause endless debate.

“For me, the single-season home run record holder is Roger Maris,” author George Will said earlier this month. “There’s no hint of suspicion that we’re seeing better baseball than better chemistry in Judge’s case. He’s clean. He doesn’t do anything that makes other players put their health at risk.

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