New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge, right, launches his 50th home run of the season as Los Angeles Angels catcher Matt Thaiss, center, and home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott watch in the top of the eighth inning at the Big A in Anaheim on Mon Aug 28, 2022 (AP News photo)
Chasing No.61 — You Be The Judge
That’s Amaury News and Commentary
By Amaury Pi-González
On October 1, 1961 New York Yankee outfielder Roger Maris hit his home run No.61 of the season breaking the (at that time) major league record for most home runs in one season of 60 established by Babe Ruth in 1927. Today Yankee center fielder Aaron Judge is challenging Roger Maris record as well as making a bid to become the Most Valuable Player in the American League.
Roger Maris still holds the home run record for one season in the American League and another Yankee, Aaron Judge today, 95 years later is on a pace to break that record with his first-place team.
The major league record is that of Barry Bonds of 73 home runs in 2001. However because Bonds played during the much maligned ‘steroids era’, a period of time when a number of players were believed to have used performance-enhancing drugs, resulting in increased offensive numbers, Barry Bonds record is kind of hollow, compared to the historic 61 of Roger Maris.
Bonds was not alone during that era, there are other “regular suspects” like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, José Canseco, Rafael Palmeiro whose records are also considered suspicious and therefore have lessen their impact. As a result these players with Hall of Fame statistics so far have fallen short of induction.
Beginning this Tuesday August 31, the Yankees have 33 games left this season. The Yankee have a very even schedule the rest of the way; 17 games on the road and 16 at Yankee Stadium.
The race for the MVP in the American League will be between two men, NY Yankees Aaron Judge and LA Angels Shohei Ohtani, who won it last year. In 2017 many believe that during his rookie year Aaron Judge was robbed of the MVP as he hit for .284 with 52 home runs and 114 runs batted in.
José Altuve of the Houston Astros won the MVP that season hitting for a .346 average with 24 home runs and 81 runs batted in. By the way that 2017 was also the last of the three batting titles Altuve has won so far.
I believe (and I do not have a vote) the MVP voting will be close this season. I am from the school of thinking that it should go to the player that helps his team win the Division; the Yankees are on the way to do that, while the Angels are finishing in fourth place this season.
The mere fact that Ohtani is a unique two-way player, (the most relevant since Babe Ruth) the Japanese super star, a very good hitter and a very good pitcher is going to seduce many writers to vote for him again. Let’s face it.
The national baseball media has a love affair with the Japanese super star. A relatively new baseball stat WAR, wins against replacement figures big today in the major leagues and applies to these two guys, when it comes to the MVP.
As of today Aaron Judge 50 home runs is on a pace to hit 62 home runs this year and therefore establish the new American League record. Can he do it? You be the Judge!
Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the lead play by play announcer on the Oakland A’s Spanish radio network and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsadioservice.com