By Terrance Turner
May 23, 2022 (updated Oct. 4)
New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge is making history in the regular season and postseason. After hitting a franchise-record 62 home runs during the regular season, Judge smashed a solo home run in Game 5 of the Yankees’ playoff series.
Judge now has four career homers in winner-take-all playoff games — the most ever. And he helped the Yankees take a 4-0 lead early in the game. The Yankees are battling the Cleveland Guardians in the American League Division Series. (Both teams are tied at 2-2.)
Judge hit his 62nd home run of the season on Oct. 4 — breaking the record set by Yankees legend Roger Maris. In Oct. 1961, Maris set the single-season record for home runs in the American League (one of two leagues that make up MLB). That record has stood for 61 years. But Judge broke that record tonight. On the road against the Texas Rangers, Judge hit a homer off Rangers pitcher Jesus Tinoco:
NO American League player has EVER hit 62 home runs in one single season. Judge now makes history as the single-season AL home run leader. He also makes franchise history, with the most home runs ever hit by a Yankees player in a season. (Babe Ruth and Roger Maris — the previous AL record holders — were both part of the New York Yankees.)
As Judge rounded the bases, the crowd (in Arlington, Texas) roared its approval. When he stepped back on home plate, Judge was congratulated by Yankees staff and teammates. He ended up getting the rest of the night off: Judge exited the game in the bottom of the second inning. He left the field to a standing ovation.
Judge’s 61st came in Toronto, in the seventh inning of that night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays. The hit came off of Blue Jays pitcher Tim Mayza:
Judge had gone seven games without a home run, according to ESPN. He’d walked in his first at-bat, popped out in his second and grounded out in his third. So hit No. 61 seemed less likely in the seventh. But he smashed the ball to deep left field, tying a record for most home runs ever in an AL season.
Judge hit his sixtieth over a week ago in the Bronx, but that’s just the latest in a series of eye-popping achievements this season. On Sept. 18, against the Brewers, he hit his 58th and 59th in one night! ESPN raved, “Aaron Judge turned in perhaps the best game of his historic season Sunday, hitting two home runs, a double and a single, driving in four runs and setting himself up to break the American League single-season home run record at home this week.”
“In Sunday’s game, Judge became the first player in the league’s ball-tracking era to record five batted balls of 110 mph-plus — a 115.4 mph liner to deep center field on the game’s first pitch, a 111.6 mph home run to right field in the third inning, a 111.3 mph single to left field in the sixth, a 110.3 mph shot on a 443-foot home run to left field in the seventh and a 111.8 mph double to left field in the ninth,” wrote ESPN writer Jeff Passan. “On Sunday, he raised his September line to near-unthinkable numbers: a .491 batting average, a .586 on-base percentage and a 1.018 slugging percentage.”
This is only the latest in a series of homers for Judge. On Sept. 14, in the Yankees’ game against the Boston Red Sox, Judge hit the 56th and 57th home runs of his season. According to ESPN, “Judge’s opposite-field solo drive to right field off Nick Pivetta in the sixth inning tied the score at 3-3.”
The Red Sox went back up 4-3 when Xander Bogaerts answered Judge’s homer with one of his own. But the game was tied again in the eighth inning, when Judge crushed a hanging slider over the left field wall at Fenway Park:
Judge’s home run tied the game at four. It was still tied after the end of the ninth inning, so the game entered overtime (“extra innings”). When the Yankees went to bat in the 10th, the Red Sox had Judge intentionally walked, limiting the possibility that he’d hit another homer. But Giancarlo Stanton was also walked after his at-bat. The bases were loaded: Stanton on first, Judge on second, and Yankees shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa on third.
Yankees outfielder Esteban Florial stepped in to run for Stanton. Gleyber Torres hit a double to the ball of the wall; Judge, Florial, and Kiner-Falefa all scored. That three-run play put the Yankees up 7-4. (They held on to win, 7-6.)
On Aug. 29th, Judge hit his 50th home run of the season. As the Yankees battled against the Los Angeles Angels, Judge sent the ball 354 feet in the eighth inning. He’d notch No. 51 the next day, against LA. And on Sept. 3, Judge hit home run No. 52 in the 9th inning of the Yankees’ loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. The following day, he hit a moonshot to left field as the Yankees managed to avoid a sweep by the Rays. It was his 53rd home run — a career high.
Today, Aaron Judge continued a historic hitting streak. In a Labor Day game against the Minnesota Twins, Judge hit a two-run homer to left field. He hit a high drive into left field, giving the Yankees a 4-2 lead in the 6th inning:
In a game against the hometown rival New York Mets, Judge launched a pitch into the bleachers for his 47th home run of the season:
Judge smashed a two-run homer in a late July match against the Kansas City Royals, his 42nd home run this season and the 200th homer of his career. It’s only the latest highlight in a stellar weekend. With the Yankees 7-5 in the eighth inning of the previous night’s game against the Kansas City Royals, Judge hit a grand slam to put his team ahead 11-5. It was his 41st home run of the year:
Judge is on pace for 66 home runs, which would top Roger Maris’ club record of 61 in 1961. Judge, Maris and Babe Ruth in 1928 are the only Yankees with at least 40 homers by the end of July, per MLB.com.
Judge’s hitting streak has helped carry the Yankees through game after game. In the Yankees’ last primetime match against the New York Mets — which has been dubbed the “Subway Series” — Judge led off the scoring with a solo home run to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead.
This score comes just two days after Judge hit his 37th home run — and fourth in five games out of the All-Star break — in the third inning of Sunday’s 6-0 win over the Baltimore Orioles, extending his lead in MLB‘s home run race to seven over Phillies outfielder Kyle Schwarber., according to The Athletic. This only continues a magical hitting streak for Judge, who leads the league in homers.
Near the end of June, Judge had a magical weekend. On June 23 — the night before a meeting with the Yankees to negotiate his pay — Judge hit a walkoff single to break a tie with the Houston Astros and win the game for the Yankees. After trailing the Astros 6-3, Giancarlo Stanton ended a historic hitless drought for New York with a one-out, 111 mph homer in the seventh inning, and DJ LeMahieu followed with a tying two-run drive in the eighth.
The game went into overtime still tied 6-6, and in the 10th inning Judge hit a walkoff home run to seal the Yankees’ 7-6 win. The next day, he and the Yankees agreed on a one-year, $19 million deal after weeks of disputing his salary. (The deal includes a $250,000 incentive if he wins league MVP).
Though the Astros won on both Friday and Saturday (and on Saturday, Christian Javier pitched the first no-hitter against the Yankees since 2003), the Yankees bounced back. On Sunday, June 26, after being down 3-0, they rallied to tie the game and send it into overtime. In the tenth inning, Judge stepped up to bat and made magic yet again, slamming a three-run homer to win the game. The Yankees won 6-3.
Judge hit his 23rd and 24th home runs of the MLB season weeks ago, further extending his lead as the league’s leader in homers. In their game against the Chicago Cubs, Judge got the scoring started by smashing a fly ball to center field in the bottom of the first inning. He struck again in the fourth inning, whacking a homer to left center field:
Judge’s two home runs that night were among a slew of scores for the Yankees. The team hit six solo home runs, tied for most in a single game this season. They easily defeated the Cubs in an 8-0 win. It was their 10th win in the last 11 games.
Judge hit his 22nd home run of the season on June 7. As the Yankees opened their game against the Minnesota Twins, Judge went up to bat in the first inning. After two balls and two strikes, Judge smashed a two-run homer to center field to put the Yankees ahead 2-0:
The home run was the 22nd of Judge’s season. He hit his 21st in a game versus the Detroit Tigers — a first-pitch leadoff — in the Yankees’ 3-0 victory against the Tigers on June 4. He notched his 20th home run the day before (also against the Tigers). He has an MLB-best .679 slugging percentage, with the next-best mark being .642 from the Cleveland Guardians’ Jose Ramirez. He also leads the majors in OPS (1.059) and wRC+ (200), according to The Comeback.
Judge previously hit a scorcher HR against the Angels (No. 19) and a deep-center homer (No. 18) versus the Tampa Bay Rays. In a Yankees game against the Baltimore Orioles, Judge crushed a solo home run to center field and opened the scoring at 1-0 in the bottom of the 1st. Then, with the Yankees down 4-2 against the Baltimore Orioles, Judge hit a two-run homer to tie the game.
This was the 17th home run of the season for Judge. No other MLB player had more than 12.
Judge hit a moonshot in the bottom of the eighth inning of New York’s game against the White Sox yesterday — his 15th. He smashed his 13th and 14th home runs of the season on May 17. In the Yankees’ game against the Baltimore Orioles, Judge belted a solo home run to center field, giving the Yankees a 2-1 lead over the Orioles in the top of the 3rd inning. Then, in the fifth inning, he homered again, hitting a 422-foot blast to center field. That tied the game at 3.
Judge has been on a tear lately. After teammate Giancarlo Stanton smacked a two-run drive in the first inning against Vince Velasquez (2-3) and the Yankees scored three more runs in the second, Judge made it 6-0 with a solo moon shot in the fourth — his 12th home run — and the Yankees beat the Chicago White Sox 10-4 on May 13.
Judge hit a three-run homer in the ninth inning and the New York Yankees rallied for a comeback win, beating the Toronto Blue Jays 6-5 on May 10 in the Bronx. In the ninth inning, pitcher Jordan Romano faced Yankees center fielder Aaron Judge. (Yankees catcher Jose Trevino was on first base; DJ LeMahieu was on second.) The first pitch was a slider for a strike. Another slider led to strike two. Judge swung at a fastball, hitting it foul. Then, after another foul, he finally connected. Judge smashed a massive 450-foot three-run homer — the first walk-off home run of his career.
It made him the first MLB player to reach double-digit home runs. Now, he leads the league with 62.