Roger Maris Jr. said it when Aaron Judge launched his 61st, and he said it again when Judge broke his father’s record on Tuesday night in Texas: the New York Yankees slugger is the true single-season home run king.
Maris Jr. was vocal with reporters in Toronto where he said MLB should change their record books to reflect that Judge is the true home run king in a single season due Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds, who all surpassed 61 home runs, being linked to performance-enhancing drugs.
Though Maris Jr. wasn’t on hand to witness the deep fly against the Texas Rangers, he took to social media to once again say his piece.
“Congratulations to Aaron Judge and his family on Aaron’s historic home run number 62! It has definitely been a baseball season to remember,” he wrote. “You are all class and someone who should be revered. For the MAJORITY of the fans, we can now celebrate a new CLEAN HOME RUN KING!!”
Maris Jr. has been vocal about those who passed his father’s record when it came out that all three players were linked to steroids in some way. But it came to light again when he explained why he feels so adamant that Judge be featured next to that record.
“I think it means a lot, not just for me, I think it means a lot for a lot of people,” Maris Jr. said. “He’s clean, he’s a Yankee, he plays the game the right way. I think it gives people a chance to look at somebody who should be revered for hitting 62 home runs and not just as a guy who did it in the American League. He should be revered for being the actual single-season home run champ. That’s really who he is if he hits 62, and I think that’s what needs to happen. I think baseball needs to look at the records, and I think baseball should do something.”
The current record was set by Bonds in 2001 when he hit 73 home runs. However, while all three players, Bonds, McGwire and Sosa, did well in their careers, the Hall of Fame has not inducted them despite their stat lines proclaiming their worth.
Last week in Toronto was the first time Maris Jr. ever spoke to Judge as he went on this quest. He said he found it just right that there were many similarities between the two players — Judge wears No. 99, Maris wore No. 9, and they both played right field.
Judge wasn’t able to hit the 62nd dinger on Oct. 1 like Maris hit his 61st, but he did hit it in the Yankees’ 161st game. Maris did the same thing back in 1961.
Odd how that number continues to be a part of Yankees lore.
After so many years, it would be surprising to see MLB change their minds now with Judge surpassing Maris. But only time will tell if Maris Jr. gets his wish.
But Maris Jr. wasn’t the only one to congratulate Judge on a fine accomplishment. Derek Jeter, the last Yankee captain, went on social media to say his warm words and to look ahead to next week.
President Joe Biden also shared congratulations.
Another former Yankee, Paul O’Neill, offered his piece.
And sports analyst Max Kellerman shares the same thoughts as Maris Jr.
Judge has since been taken out of the game as the Globe Life Park crowd gave him a standing ovation after finally getting that 62nd home run.