Roger Maris Jr.: Aaron Judge on verge of becoming ‘the actual single-season home run champ’￼
After a week of sitting at 60 home runs, New York Yankees star Aaron Judge finally hit No. 61 on Wednesday night, tying Roger Maris for the single-season franchise and American League record.
In attendance at the Rogers Centre in Toronto was Maris’ son, Roger Maris Jr., who took in the historic moment right next to Judge’s mother.
Afterward in a press conference, Maris Jr. discussed the next milestone for Judge: 62 home runs – a number he believes represents the true home run record.
He praised Judge for being a clean player, saying that it “means a lot.”
“Not just for me. I think it means a lot for a lot of people – that he’s clean, he’s a Yankee, he plays the game the right way,” Maris said.
“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,” Maris continued. “I mean, that’s really who he is if he hits 62. I think that’s what needs to happen. I think baseball needs to look at the records and I think baseball should do something.”
Roger Maris Sr. set the MLB record for home runs in 1961, eclipsing the mark held by the legendary Babe Ruth. Maris’ record stood until 1998, when it was broken by St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire.
McGwire famously made his way into the stands after launching No. 62 and embraced the Maris family. Roger Maris Sr. died in 1985 at the age of 51.
McGwire finished that 1998 season with 70 home runs. His record was eventually toppled by Barry Bonds, who hit 73 in 2001.
McGwire, Bonds and Sammy Sosa – who occupy the top six places on the single-season home run list, ahead of Maris and Judge – have all been accused of using steroids during their career.
Maris Jr. was asked if he viewed the marks of McGwire and Bonds as “illegitimate.”
“I do,” he replied. “I think most people do.”
Judge will begin his quest for No. 62 on Friday back in New York as the Yankees take on the Baltimore Orioles.