50 rounds! Aaron Judge nears his date with history

A bomb. Aaron Judge’s 50th home run this season was expected to be a real hit. The Yankees slugger is much closer to his long-awaited date with history. And to celebrate, another record-breaking feat was scored.

In New York, they’ll have to prepare the checkbook if they see any chance of keeping the current MLB home run leader beyond 2022, once he’s declared a free agent.

The judge hit the ball 434 feet from home plate on Monday. He started the week with another show of power. And thanks to that, he became only the 10th player in Major League history with several harvests of 50 homers.

It is a list inaugurated by Babe Ruth himself. A club so exclusive that Barry Bonds is not one of them, despite having hit 762 home runs in his career.

The connection could have been a party for the Bronx Bombers. If only rookie Oswaldo Cabrera had carried the ball a little further in the final innings of the game, the occasion would have been sealed with a win for Aaron Boone’s men.

But Judge has a lot to celebrate, despite the loss in Anaheim.

Only three Yankees hitters have hit 50 balls out of the park in multiple championships: Ruth, Mickey Mantle and him.

It became the franchise’s second blockbuster with half a hundred home runs before September. And who was the first? Well, Roger Maris, the absolute record holder of the New York institution.

In 1961, Maris broke the 60 homer milestone that Ruth had set in the major leagues in 1927. And that record stood until the contested generation of thumpers that emerged in the steroid era.

 

For many fans, the 61 is a symbolic boundary that goes beyond what has been done by those who wear the striped uniform.

Judge has better pace than Maris. ESPN.com publishes each player’s projection daily in each active season. And the hitter, at this rate, is on track to put 63 balls over the fence.

“It’s just another number,” Judge told reporter Marly Rivera, who is following in his footsteps on the path to final recognition.

And the Linden, Calif.-born giant may have legitimately meant those words. After all, their Bombers are leaders in the East Division, but they haven’t quite overcome the bad moment they suffered in the second half.

“It’s a good thing,” Judge acknowledged, explaining his emotions. “But I’m a bit upset, because we lost. It was a tight game, which we could have won. I don’t want to hurt that, but I don’t like to think about statistics.”

Fans like it. And to the media.

It was only in his rookie year that he hit so many homers. This time he gave 52, in 2017, and set a rookie record that Pete Alonso took away from him soon after.

If you stay healthy, you have a month to literally shred that personal ceiling.

“He’s 50 and it’s August,” Boone said in awe. “It’s hard to think about the amazing season he’s had so far. The only good shot he’s had is he hit the rocks in the middle of the field. What he does is really special.”

The judge was the protagonist of the game. But the hero was the Japanese Shohei Ohtani. The Asian phenom hit 29 kills in the season and completed both innings that gave the Los Angeles Angels the win.

It was an exciting twist for those following the fight as the two must win over voters in the election of the most valuable.

Ohtani continues to flesh out her resume. His unparalleled combination of dominant throws and devastating strikes could still earn him a second straight MVP.

But the judge’s case is historic in many other ways. And so says the record books, receiving this fiftieth home run in its pages.

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