Debate Surrounds Aaron Judge’s 62 Home Runs, Rightfully So

There is fair debate surrounding the importance of Aaron Judge’s 62 home runs.

The AL record home run total is well off Barry Bonds’ 73. But Judge produced it outside the steroid era when Bonds’ record season was one of six that topped Roger Maris’ 61.

Maris’ son has declared Judge the clean home run champion worthy of the admiration. It’s for each fan to decide just how meaningful it is. To me, it’s tiresome conversation that we’ve already waded through and everyone’s established his or her stance on steroid-aided home runs.

The thrill of Judge’s quest and total to me, a Yankees fan from New Jersey, was the context.

He outdistanced Kyle Schwarber, No. 3 in home runs, by 16 home runs – a whopping 35 percent. And Judge hit .311 while getting to 62 at a time when pitching is crazy good and power hitters are more likely to hit .211. By the way, Schwarber hit .219.

NEW YORK, NY – JULY 30: Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees in action against the Kansas City Royals during a game at Yankee Stadium on July 30, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Judge Also Added 131 RBI

Judge’s homers came as part of one of the greatest offensive seasons in my lifetime, and surely the best contract year in history.

It was a reminder too of just how distinct the home run is in sports. Off the top of your head, who knows the numbers for the single-season points record in the NBA or NHL? Or how about the number of touchdowns Peyton Manning threw for the single-season touchdown record? Those numbers are not particularly revered.

But even with Bonds, Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa at the top of the list, Babe Ruth’s 60 in 1927 and Maris’ 61 in 1961 are still hallowed numbers that are more easily recalled for many.

Judge turned down a seven-year, $213.5 million deal before the season. Now he’s going to make much more than $30.5 million a year.

Once it would be hard to imagine there being any risk of the Yankees letting their best home-grown talent leave. But I’d sure feel better if George Steinbrenner were around to ensure the Mets or Giants can’t outdo the Yanks, who are now semi-fiscally responsible.

New York Finished The Regular Season 99-63

Bigger changes could, and should, be coming if New York fails to get to the World Series – a likely scenario in my eyes.

They’ve got an “ace” in Gerrit Cole who gives up soul-crushing home runs far too frequently – an American League leading 33 this season – and another starter who’s right there with him in the AL since July 5.

The bullpen is a mess.

D.J. LeMahieu’s got a bad toe that’s bound to limit him. They refuse to play their best defensive shortstop, rookie Oswald Peraza.

Maybe they get by the Guardians or Rays in the ALDS. But if it’s the Astros waiting for them in the American League Championship Series, another World Series miss likely awaits.

Brian Cashman’s been in control as the general manager for a quarter century and he constructs rosters that consistently get to the playoffs. It’s great to always know you get postseason baseball, but we know this loved and hated team is expected to do more. If Aaron Boone doesn’t take this version to a meeting with the Dodgers, Braves or Mets it will be a huge disappointment.

And the story of the season will be 62. Not 28, the next World Series win the Yanks are seeking.

Paul Kuharsky hosts OutKick 360. Read more of him at PaulKuharsky.com.

Written by Paul Kuharsky

Paul Kuharsky is an award-winning writer who has covered the NFL for over 22 years in California, Texas, and Tennessee, and also is a selector for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. After ESPN, PK came to join the longest running trio in Nashville Sports Talk in 2012.

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