Aaron Judge ties AL home run record: What to know as Yankees star belts 61st homer to match Roger Maris

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New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge hit his 61st home run of the 2022 season Wednesday night and in doing so tied Roger Maris' American League record for most home runs in a season. Judge's historic blast came against Blue Jays lefty reliever Tim Mayza at Rogers Centre in Toronto. 

"It's an incredible honor ... words can't describe it," Judge said after the game (video), adding it was a "relief" to hit No. 61. 

Here is Judge's milestone home run. The ball landed in the Toronto bullpen, so the Yankees were able to recover it with no issue.

No. 61 snapped a seven-game home run drought for Judge, tying his second longest of the season. He also went seven games between homers from April 14-21. Judge's season high is nine games without a homer from Aug. 13-21.

It should be noted Judge had a chance to hit his 62nd home run Wednesday night as well, though he grounded out to short in the eighth inning. Judge was walked 13 times between his 60th and 61st home runs -- only one of the 13 was intentional -- including five times Tuesday and Wednesday alone.

Judge, who has now hit 10 home runs this September, recently achieved just the ninth 60-homer season in the history of Major League Baseball. As well, No. 61 for Judge breaks his tie with Babe Ruth and now ties him with Maris for the most in a season in Yankees franchise history.

Here's more on Judge's milestone blast.

Mom & Maris Jr. were in the house

Judge's mother, Patty, and Roger Maris Jr. were in attendance and sitting together at Rogers Centre. Here they are when Judge hit his milestone blast:

Judge's family and the Maris family have attended every Yankees game since Judge hit his 60th home run last Tuesday.

The new AL leaderboard

There was some wonderful symmetry in this home run chase. Maris hit 61 home runs in 1961 while wearing No. 9. Judge tied Maris' record 61 years later while wearing No. 99. Baseball can be pretty cool sometimes.

Here is the new AL single-season home run leaderboard:

  1. Aaron Judge, 2022 Yankees: 61 and counting
  2. Roger Maris, 1961 Yankees: 61
  3. Babe Ruth, 1927 Yankees: 60
  4. Babe Ruth, 1921 Yankees: 59
  5. Jimmie Foxx, 1931 Athletics: 58
  6. Hank Greenberg, 1938 Tigers: 58

The Yankees have another seven regular season games remaining after Wednesday, so Judge has a very good opportunity to break the tie with Maris and add to his total. He's hit as many as seven home runs in a seven-game span this season.

Triple Crown

Judge is chasing a lot more than Maris' record. He's also chasing a Triple Crown. He entered play Wednesday with a league-leading .314 batting average and dragged it down a bit with a 1-for-4 night. Here is the updated AL batting race:

  1. Aaron Judge, Yankees: .31341
  2. Luis Arraez, Twins: .31332
  3. Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox: .30867 

Not surprisingly, Judge leads the league by large margins in home runs (61) and runs batted in (130). The Triple Crown will come down to the batting race and whether Judge can hold off Arraez and Bogaerts in the season's final week. 

Judge is angling to become the first Triple Crown winner since Miguel Cabrera in 2012. Overall, the Triple Crown has been achieved just 12 times since the RBI became an official statistic in 1920.

Oh yeah, he's going to be a free agent

Judge declined a $213.5 million contract extension in spring training and managed to make himself a lot more money this season. Perhaps more than $100 million more. All indications are Judge wants to remain a Yankee and the Yankees want to keep him, but they do need to hammer out a contract. They were unable to do so earlier this year.

No. 62?

The Yankees have an off-day Thursday before returning home for a three-game weekend series with the Orioles. That is their final regular season series at Yankee Stadium and thus Judge's last chance to hit his 62nd home run in front of the home crowd. Righty Austin Voth is expected to start Friday's game for the O's. He has never faced Judge.

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