MLB

Judge blasts 61st home run to tie Maris' long-standing Yankees and AL single-season record

By Sports Desk September 28, 2022

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge made baseball history after blasting his 61st home run of the season to equal Roger Maris' franchise and American League (AL) single-season record.

Judge, who had gone homerless in seven games, crushed a two-run homer in the seventh inning in Wednesday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Judge's record-tying 61st home run comes with another seven games remaining in the regular season. Maris' mark dates back to 1961.

The 30-year-old had gone 31 consecutive homerless plate appearances coming into Wednesday's game with some speculation he may be rested with the Yankees clinching the AL East on Tuesday.

Only three players have scored more homers in a single season than Judge; Barry Bonds (73 in 2001), Mark McGwire (70 in 1999 and 65 in 1999) and Sammy Sosa (66 in 1998, 64 in 2001, 63 in 1999).

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    DeGrom, who has spent his entire nine-year career with the New York Mets, is perhaps the most dominant pitcher in baseball when healthy.

    His career 2.52 ERA ranks third in the expansion era (since 1961) behind Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw (2.48) and Hall-of-Famer Sandy Koufax (2.19) among those with at least 200 starts.

    "We are thrilled that Jacob deGrom has decided to become a Texas Ranger," executive vice president and general manager Chris Young said in a statement.

    "Over a number of seasons, Jacob has been a standout major league pitcher, and he gives us a dominant performer at the top of our rotation. One of our primary goals this offseason is to strengthen our starting pitching, and we are adding one of the best."

    This blockbuster move comes just before baseball's winter meetings, which begin early next week in San Diego. The Rangers said deGrom will be introduced in a news conference at Globe Life Field next week following the winter meetings.

    "It fits in so many ways in terms of what we need," Young said. "He's a tremendous person. I have a number of close friends and teammates who played with Jacob and love him. I think he's going to be just a perfect fit for our clubhouse and our fans."

    DeGrom, however, has been limited to 26 starts and 156-and-a-third innings over the past two seasons due to elbow, forearm and shoulder blade injuries. He compiled a career-low 1.08 ERA over 92 innings in 2021, but did not pitch after July 7 that year because of arm trouble.

    "We acknowledge the risk, but we also acknowledge that in order to get great players, there is a risk and a cost associated with that," Young said. "And one we feel like is worth taking with a player of Jacob's caliber."

    The Rangers have spent nearly $761m in free agency over the past year, including massive contracts last offseason to shortstop Corey Seager ($325m, 10 years) and second baseman Marcus Semien ($175m, seven years). The moves didn’t pay off, though, as they finished 68-94 for their sixth consecutive losing season.

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    DeGrom won consecutive Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019 and is 82-57 with 1,607 strikeouts in 1,326 innings over nine big league seasons.

  • Slugger Abreu joins champion Astros on three-year $58.5m deal Slugger Abreu joins champion Astros on three-year $58.5m deal

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  • 'It's out of my price range' – Aaron Judge rules out $3million-plus auction bid for 62nd home run ball 'It's out of my price range' – Aaron Judge rules out $3million-plus auction bid for 62nd home run ball

    Aaron Judge is resigned to being an intrigued observer when the ball he struck for a record-breaking 62nd home run goes up for auction – declaring he cannot afford to join the bidding race.

    The 30-year-old set a single-season Yankees and AL home-run record by reaching 62 to surpass Roger Maris Sr's 61 – set 61 years ago in 1961.

    Judge became the fourth major league player to hit 62 or more homers in a single season, and his feat belongs in baseball legend, making the ball that saw him set the record on October 4 especially valuable.

    It occurred at the home of the Texas Rangers in Arlington, with the spectator at Globe Life Field that caught the ball striking lucky by guaranteeing himself an apparent fortune.

    According to ESPN, that man, Cory Youmans, decided to put the ball in the hands of Goldin Auctions "after weeks of a lot of deep conversations" with his wife and lawyer.

    Youmans said: "It seems fair in the sense it gives anyone that is interested and has the means the opportunity to own it. As a fan, I'm curious to see what it's worth, who buys it and what they do with it."

    Youmans is said to have already turned down $3million for the ball, with his lawyer, Dave Baron, suspecting the final selling price could be "significantly higher based on New York, the New York fan base and how crazy it could get at an auction".

    That rules Judge out of contention, as he said the ball is "out of my price range right now".

    The ball is listed with a starting bid of $1million, with the auction due to get under way on November 30.

    Judge said of the seller's choice: "He caught the ball, he's the one that made the play out there in left field, so it's his right to do what he wants with it. Hopefully he's making the right decision for him and his family.''

    The ball's value will not have been harmed by Judge winning the AL Most Valuable Player (MVP) award ahead of Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani on Thursday.

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