ARLINGTON, Texas – There was a gasp, a moment of silence, and an explosion of exhilaration Tuesday evening, reverberating deep in the heart of Texas.
New York Yankees player Aaron Judge climbed over the left field wall off Texas Rangers pitcher Jesus Tinoco and, at 7:08 p.m., became the King of the MLS at home with his 62nd home run of the season, surpassing former Yankee Roger Maris. It set a record 61 years ago in 1961.
Yankee players flocked from the dugout to salute the judge at the home plate, the Rangers stood in awe, and the 38,832 crowd cheered until their lungs burned.
The judge validated his legacy, produced one of the greatest seasons in baseball history, and joined Mount Rushmore from one of the greatest home hitters in a single season: Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa and now Judge.
Judge, who was fast paced to reach record holder Homer two weeks ago, has struggled recently, scoring just one wreck in the past 13 games, and in all 58 games. He’s hit 200 with a double, Homer, 17 gaits and 13 strokes since connecting Babe Ruth with his 60th Homer.
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Aaron Boone said, “He’s had some pitches to hit here in the last couple of days, and overall he’s gotten a good swing and spoiled it. Usually that’s the subtle difference between when you’re really rolling or when you’re just ticking. I think he’s got some pitches, but Instead of really sticking it like he did 61 times, he misses some balls. But I don’t think he’s far.”
As the judge circled the rules, he broke into a smile, enjoying the moment. History chased for months. Now, the tension is over.
History was made.
The only time the judge appeared frustrated during an entire home run chase was when he slammed his helmet down into the dugout after hitting a pop-up on an 84-mph slider by Rangers’ John Gray in the first game of the double-header. Rangers challenged him throughout the match, but Judge only managed one in five hits, lowering his hit average to 0.310.
“I mean, I’m sure he’d want to hit her,” Boone said, “but it wasn’t much different from what I’ve heard or seen from him, frankly, over the course of the year.”
The only fans most annoyed were the fans, comically booing Judge after his eighth inning singles win in the middle of the first game and booing him after coming off the ground to end the game.
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Now, the judge is hoping for more.
He is still striving to become the second player in the last 55 years to win the Triple Crown, and the first Yankee player since Mantle.
“The triple crown would be amazing,” said the judge.
Judge is sure to win the home championship (leading by 23) and RBI titles (by 7), but he lags behind Louis Ariz of the Minnesota Twins in batting average, 0.315 to 0.310. The hitting average judge took a hit last weekend at Yankee Stadium when he went 1-for-7 with six hits, five walks and hit after hit in 13 hitters. It was only 2 vs 9 in the first two games of the Rangers series, with Rangers GM Chris Young pleading with his shooting to challenge him.
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