It is a season to remember for former Fresno State baseball star Aaron Judge.
Not only do his New York Yankees lead the American League East by seven games, but Judge is rising in the big-league home run record books.
On Monday night, the 6-foot-7 outfielder hit his 50th home run of the season in New York’s 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) August 30, 2022
10th Player to Hit 50 Home Runs at Least Twice
With the blast, Judge became one of just 10 players in MLB history with multiple seasons of 50 or more home runs. The others, according to baseball-reference.com, are Babe Ruth, Willy Mays, Mickey Mantle, Ken Griffey Jr., Jimmie Fox, Ralph Kiner, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Alex Rodriguez.
However, the slugging exploits of McGwire and Rodriguez are tainted by admitted steroid use. And Sosa has long been suspected of steroid use, although he denies it.
Judge also hit 52 home runs in 2017 to set a rookie record later broken when Pete Alonso hit 53 for the New York Mets.
Even though the Angels were the home team, the crowd included a large number of Yankees fans.
MVP Chants for Judge
Judge, who received loud “MVP!” chants late in the game, was intentionally walked twice before going deep. He is chasing the single-season Yankees record of 61 home runs set by Roger Maris in 1961.
“It’s 50, and it’s August,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “It’s hard to wrap your mind around just how incredible of a season he’s had to this point. The one time they pitch to him he hits it off a rock. It’s really special what he’s doing.”
Said Judge: “It’s just another number. It’s great, but I’m kind of upset we lost.”
With his parents in the stands, Judge sent a 434-foot solo drive to left-center off reliever Ryan Tepera to trim New York’s deficit to one.
About the team record that belongs to Maris, Judge said: “I’m not downplaying it. I don’t like talking numbers.”
Rejects $230 Million Contract Extension From Yankees
Before the season started, Judge rejected an eight-year, $230 million contract extension with the Yankees.
By betting on himself for the 2022 campaign, he has undoubtedly paved the way for a more lucrative deal in free agency.
(Associated Press contributed to this article.)