- Marly Rivera is a writer for ESPNdeportes.com and ESPN.com.
NEW YORK — Only five players had hit 60 home runs in a single season in the history of the major leagues — that is, until New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge joined that exclusive club with a solo homer against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.
The All-Star outfielder is now one home run shy of tying Roger Maris’ American League single-season record of 61 home runs, set in 1961, which also stood as the major league mark for 37 years.
With his 60th home run, the 6-foot-7 Judge also tied Babe Ruth (1927) for eighth place on the single-season home run list as the Yankees rallied for a 39-8 win.
“I have to believe it’s right there with some of the best, very short list of all-time seasons, what he’s doing,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of Judge’s nightly chase for baseball history. “Our focus is obviously on winning, and what’s at stake for us as a team. But within that, to watch what he’s doing, you certainly realize what a special season you’re getting to witness.”
There have now been nine 60-home run seasons in MLB history, achieved by six different players. Judge joined Hall of Famers Ruth and Maris, as well as Barry Bonds (2001), Mark McGwire (1999, 1998) and Sammy Sosa (2001, 1999, 1998).
Judge’s 59 home runs were already the most by a right-handed batter in AL history. Judge had also already joined Ruth (four) and Mickey Mantle (two) as only the third member of the storied Yankees franchise to have multiple 50-HR seasons while wearing pinstripes.
But Maris’ home run record isn’t the only historic mark Judge is chasing.
Judge’s batting average entering Tuesday was .316, one point off Minnesota Twins first baseman Luis Arraez’s AL lead. Judge, who is all but a lock to lead the league in homers and RBIs (127), has a chance to become the 11th player to win the Triple Crown since RBIs became official in 1920.
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