Red Sox loyalist Matt Barnes lobbed a fast 95-mph ball over the middle of the board, the kind of pitch that Aaron Judge, Yankees nominee for Player of the Season, devoured for most of the 2022 baseball season.
But despite Judge calling Barnes’s show, and the 43,000-plus Yankee Stadium fans cheering—in anticipation of Judge’s 61st trip around the bases this year—the baseball game fell into the glove of Sox quarterback Enrique Hernandez after a nearly 404-foot run. Long fly ball out.
Going into Friday, the Yankee Giant has 13 games left to equal or surpass the Maris’ mark in the Major League for one season at home which amounted to 61 games in 1961.
“I really think (the judge) is going to get close to 65 if not 65 (the Homers),” Mark McGuire, a former Oakland A and St. Louis Cardinals player, said in a phone interview.
Even when the judge attempts to tie the Maris or hit more than 61 home runs before the ’22 regular season ends, the debate has already begun: If the judge hits 62 or more, will his final mark represent a “legitimate” one-season home record? in Sports Illustrated In a report published earlier this month, Judge told baseball writer Tom Verducci that Barry Bonds, in Judge’s opinion, remains the one-season king.
The number of bond homers reached 73 in 2001.
“Seventy-three is the record,” the judge told Ferducci. “In my book. No matter what people want to say about the era of baseball, for me, they’ve gone out there and hit 73 Homers and 70 Homers, which for me is the record. The AL record is 61, so I can try to go after it. If it happens. That, it happens. If not, it’s been a fun year so far.”
Bonds, who is also the King of Career (762), like McGwire and Sammy Sosa, has connections to performance-enhancing drugs and the so-called “steroid era” of baseball, which included decades or more of time before Major League Baseball practiced a drug testing program. The 73 fellow Bonds came just three years after McGuire and Souza fought a home battle that ended with McGuire scoring 70 hits and Souza 66.
McGuire admitted to his use of steroids and PED during his major league career in a 2010 interview with Bob Costas, five years after his testimony and Sosa’s testimony before a congressional committee investigating steroid use in baseball and sports and after New York daily news An exclusive report has been published identifying the steroid supplier for McGwire. In Costas’ interview, McGuire said he used PEDs for injury recovery and “health purposes,” and also said, “I wish I hadn’t played in that era.” He apologized to Maris’ family in the interview.
Bonds eventually went to trial in connection with his grand jury testimony in the BALCO federal doping smuggling case. He was indicted by a jury on one count of obstruction, but the conviction was eventually overturned by a federal appeals court. Bonds was not elected to the Hall of Fame last winter, and was his tenth and final appearance on the book ballot.
“That’s the record (for one season), 73 is the record,” McGuire said in a phone interview. “That’s just the point. I really believe in the next five years, (the judge) is going to break Barry’s record. Then he has.”
for (judge) to say that (in SI story), I think that’s cool,” McGuire added. “Barry has the record – he has the all-time record. This is it. This is in the record books. Obviously there will be naysayers all the time, no matter what. it is what it is.”
A representative for Bonds did not respond to a letter for comment.
Among the critics who called McGwire’s and Bonds’ achievements on their land tainted, McGwire said, “Everyone has an opinion. It’s been amplified even more by social media, but listen, they’ve never worn a uniform, never made it to 65 at home, and haven’t hit 70 times at home, and they never hit 73 at home. They have no idea what it takes. You just don’t go to the board and someone puts it on a tee for you. It’s because of a lot of hard work, a lot of wit in the mind, and understanding what you have to done in painting.
“There will always be naysayers no matter what we’re going to talk about in any sport, anything in life. That’s the way it goes,” McGuire said.
The Maris children were on hand Thursday night at Yankee Stadium to see if the judge would match their father’s teacher, and Roger Maris Jr. said the family had “mixed feelings” about the judge skipping Maris’s father’s 61st mark.
“Again, we love the record. We are proud of that record,” Maris Jr. told Fox’s Ken Rosenthal. “But I think it’s inevitable, (the judge) is likely to break it at this point with the way he hits the ball, the way he’s hit the ball in the last two weeks.”
Judge, 30, is not only attacking teammates but also vying for the Triple Crown of baseball (highest hitting average, leader in home runs and RBI), and he has—in McGuire’s opinion—”putting this Yankee organization on his back” to get them in Postseason.
“Really the best player of the season, without a doubt, and he’s done it from day one,” McGuire said. “The Yankees wouldn’t be in the situation they are in right now if he didn’t do what he was doing. That’s what an MVP does. I couldn’t be happier for him.”
The judge rejected the Yankees’ offer earlier this year — a seven-year extension of $30.5 million a year, plus everything he offers in arbitration for 2022 — and is set to enter free agency. He probably won’t have a shortage of an MLB team, according to McGuire.
“He (the judge) is obviously going to be a very, very wealthy man after this season, being a free agent,” McGuire said. “There will be five to six Brinks trucks supporting his house to deliver all the money.”
When Alex Rodriguez signed a new contract with the Yankees in 2007, he also struck a marketing agreement with the club that would pay him $6 million in bonuses for every major milestone he passed – Willie Mays 660, Babe Ruth 714 and so on. But Rodriguez’s PED sins were exposed – in 2009 and again in 2013 – and home-run bonus money became a contentious issue when he returned to the Yankees after serving his 2014 season doping ban. The Yankees announced that Rodriguez will not receive this money.
The Yankees are not believed to have negotiated any kind of home-run bonus package in their latest show to Judge, although it is possible that another team could do so during the agency’s free trip. Friday’s entry, Judge has 218 career people.
McGwire was removed four years from his last MLB job, as the Padres’ bench coach, but said he still watches baseball on TV, now through the young careers of his two sons, Mason and Max. Mason McGwire, a right-handed bowler, was drafted by the Chicago Cubs earlier this year.
As for the spotlight and the lookout, McGuire said he’s satisfied with Judge watching baseball headlines now and however long the outside player’s career continues.
“I’ve never met him in person,” McGuire said of Judge, “I hope one day I will.” When the home junior record, 49, broke the record I set in 1987, the former player I coached, Matt Holliday (who was on the Yankees at 2017 when the judge got to 52 people), he made me talk to him judging me. I called him and congratulated him on breaking my own record.
“I just like the way (the judge) plays the game. Every aspect of the game,” McGuire said. “He wants to talk about the team and a good win. I totally understand that. This is what we all play for. Individual achievements come due to hard work, being in the right situation at the right time.”