Aaron Judge is on another level this season, but could the Yankees’ slugger reach that level?
You know the one I’m talking about.
Yep. It’s July 30, there are roughly 60 games left in the regular season, and we’re getting perilously close to Barry Bonds territory for Judge.
Bonds famously hit 73 homers back in 2001 – you know, the golden age of baseball when the juice was flowing and balls were leaving the park at record levels?
— SFGiants (@SFGiants) July 24, 2020
Well, thanks to his two-homer game Friday against Kansas City, including a grand slam that broke the game open, Judge ended Friday at 41 bombs. Being the crazed Bronx Bomber that he is, Judge then hit his 42nd homer of the season in the second inning of the team’s Saturday afternoon contest.
According to MLB’s Judge Home Run Tracker (yep, it exists), going into Saturday he was on pace for 66 homers, which would pass Roger Maris (61) for most in team history. Thanks to another tater, he has upped that pace to 67.
Sixty-seven longballs would certainly be impressive, and would beat Sammy Sosa to become the third-most in a single-season (Sosa did it during the ELECTRIC 1998 season), but it would still come up just short of Bonds’ mark of 73.
Mark McGwire is second on the all-time single-season list with 70, which he also did during that ’98 season.
So, while Judge is in the middle of a legendary campaign, he needs to pick up the pace just a bit if he wants to make real history. He may have gotten the message, too.
He’s gone just two games since July 21 without a bomb and has hit nine home runs in the last 10 days.
Taking a quick trip down memory lane, Bonds hit home run No. 41 on July 18, 2001, which was game No. 95 on the season for the Giants.
However, a cold streak followed and Bonds didn’t hit #42 until July 26th (he hit two that day and got to 43). So, Bonds’ 42nd longball of the season came in game 103 for the Giants.
Well, Aaron Judge hit his 42nd round-tripper in game 102 for the Yanks.
Bonds finished July with 44 homers, which will be tough for Judge to match, but don’t put it past him. And, if anything, he’ll be just two off the pace, max, at the end of the month.
All 70 of Mark McGwire's home runs in '98
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) June 15, 2020
The Yankees play the 16th-toughest schedule the rest of the way, so the opportunity to make up ground will be there. A seven-game West Coast swing at the end of August against the A’s and Angels seems like a good week to circle, for what it’s worth.
Barring injury – or rest, which the Yankees could do with Judge seeing as they lead the division by a billion games – the 30-year-old should give Bonds a run for his money.
At the very least, Judge should set the all-time Yankees record by passing Maris sometime in the middle of September.
And hey, he can always ask teammate Giancarlo Stanton about the art of the chase. Remember, Stanton hit 59 bombs back in 2017 as a member of the Miami Marlins, which is tied with some guy named Babe Ruth for ninth all time.
OK, carry on with your day. Here are some Barry Bonds bombs on your way out.