ARLINGTON, TX – After 61 years, someone in the American League has reached 62 homers in a season.
In his 157th game of the 2022 campaign, New York Yankees outfield Aaron Judge slammed the record-breaking home run in the first inning of their game against the Rangers at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.
It came on the third pitch from Rangers pitcher Jesus Tinoco and landed in the first row of the left field seats, which brought out loud cheers from the crowd who witnessed history on Tuesday evening.
Judge’s 62 homers is now the American League record, besting the 61 hit by Yankees outfield Roger Maris during the 1961 season.
Some began to wonder if Judge was going to break the record after being stuck on 61 homers for the last five games. That included the first game of a doubleheader against the Rangers on Tuesday afternoon at Globe Life Field.
But the wait wasn’t long to see No. 62 in the second half of the doubleheader as the outfielder took care of that pressure early. Along with the home run total, Judge is also leading the American League in RBI with 131 while his .311 batting average is fifth.
While Judge has the American League record with one game to go, he still is short of the major league record, which features all National League players.
Giants outfielder Barry Bonds’ 73 homers in the 2001 season broke the record of 70, which was set by Cardinals first baseman Mark McGwire in 1998. Former Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa had 66 homers that same summer and has the third-highest total with McGwire fourth as he hit 65 in 1999.
Sosa has the next two spots on the list with 64 homers in 2001 and 63 during the 1999 season.
Some have made the argument to consider Judge’s 62 homers the overall record due to the fact that steroid use was prevalent in the late 1990s and early 2000s. McGwire admitted to using steroids in 2010 while Bonds and Sosa have never admitted or tested positive for banned substances.
While that debate continues for some, there’s no denying Judge’s historic achievement, which makes him the American League home run king.