New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge clubbed his 62nd home run of the year Tuesday night in Texas, making him baseball’s greatest single-season long-ball hitter — outside of MLB’s notorious steroid era.
Judge’s memorable blast came in the first inning, off Rangers pitcher Jesus Tinoco, in the nightcap of a doubleheader at Globe Life Field in Arlington.
Tuesday’s homer broke a tie with Roger Maris, who hit 61 shots in 1961, for the most hit in a single American League season.
But Judge’s achievement may only stand as a record in the hearts and minds of purist baseball fans.
All the record-holders ahead of Judge are National League sluggers who did their damage in the late ’90s and early 2000s, when it was widely believed some of the best hitters and pitchers used performance-enhancing drugs.
MLB did not suspend players for steroid use until 2005. By that point, Maris’ mark of 61 had been topped six times in just four seasons (1998-2001) by Chicago Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa, San Francisco Giants outfielder Barry Bonds and St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Mark McGwire.