On Aug. 13, 2016, Tyler Austin hit a solo home run for the first of his career. Following him in the lineup was the big right handed bat, Aaron Judge. He proceeded to take the 1-2 pitch over the center field wall, for his first career home run. Fast forward six years, and Aaron Judge sits with 46 home runs on the season after a 3-2 win over the Boston Red Sox. Aaron Judge developed into one of the most feared power hitters this era of baseball fans has ever seen over the past season, topping it off with his own record: the 62 home run season.
Obviously, 62 home runs is not a MLB record. That would belong to Barry Bonds, with his 73 home runs during his storied season of 2001. There are also the amazing seasons of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, who participated in their own two man home run race in 1998. Bonds finished a season with 73, McGwire with 70 and Sosa with 65. So what makes Judge’s 62 so special?
If you’re unfamiliar with MLB, there are two “leagues,” which split 15 teams into each league. The American League and the National League, which each receive their own awards at the end of the season and help keep organization for playoff formation. What’s different about each league is individual records and awards in each are much more valued than in other sports. The American League single season home run record was previously held by Roger Maris, who hit 61 home runs in 1961. Bonds, McGwire and Sosa combined for 6 seasons of over 62 home runs, but all of them were done while they were apart of National League ball clubs. Judge passed Maris for the American League record hitting his 62nd home run, but he also did it cleanly.
Unless reports eventually come out, the assumption is Aaron Judge went through the entire 2022 season without PED usage. Which is something that cannot be said about Bonds, McGwire and Sosa, who are all haunted by the rumors about their PED usage. This would grant Judge the crown for most home runs in a season by doing it “cleanly,” which is a controversial and highly debated topic. Whether you believe he’s more than just the AL record holder or not, Judge had a season for the ages.