Fan favorite and Christian, Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees, stepped up to the plate on September 28th and hit his 61st home run in a single season, tying the record for most home runs in a single season in the American League set by Roger Maris in 1961. The New York Yankees tweeted the moment on its official Twitter account, saying, “61 years since 61. Aaron Judge has written his name alongside Roger Maris in baseball’s record books.” Maris originally held the record for most home runs hit in a single season in all of baseball until that record was broken during the “steroid era” of baseball when multiple players allegedly took performance-enhancing drugs in order to chase the home run record. The wait to break the record was not long. On October 4th, Judge hit his 62nd home run of the season during a doubleheader against Texas. The Yankees tweeted a clip of the moment, writing, “The Babe hitting 60 in ’27, The Jolly Roger hitting 61 in ’61, and now Aaron Judge hits his 62nd home run.’”
Maris’s record has been broken six times since 1998 by all National League players who have either been confirmed or accused of using steroids to break the record. This controversy led to Maris’s son, Roger Maris, Jr., asserting before Tuesday’s game that he believed Judge should be made the single-season home run record player of all baseball if he made 62 home runs by the end of the season. “I think 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. I think it gives people a chance to look and somebody who should be revered for hitting 62 home runs, and not just a guy who did it in the American League. He should be revered for being the actual single-season home run champ. 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,” Maris Jr. said in a press conference. The push continues to have Judge declared the all-time record holder now that he has surpassed Maris’s record, with the issue of how much PEDS enhance a player’s game becoming a hot topic of controversy.
Judge has distinguished himself as a “clean” player and humble man throughout his career, often citing his Christian faith. He points at the sky when he makes a home run and has said he is thinking of “the Lord” when he does so. In an interview after he hit his 62nd home run, he said, “I gotta thank God for putting me in this position and getting me to where I’m at, [and] the constant support from my family and friends who have been with me through it all – coaches from Little League, high school, college that have been here [and] instructed me and helped me out through this whole thing.” He also remained humble about the accomplishment, saying, “I can’t stand up here and say this is a great accomplishment for me. This is something for my family, for my teammates, for the Yankees. This is a group effort that I’m happy to share.”
It is not the first time Judge has acknowledged God in his career. During his rookie season after a home run, Judge thanked God, saying, “He put me in this position, blessed me with so many opportunities in my life. I just try to take a quick moment just to kind of thank Him. I just got a chance to hit a home run at Yankee Stadium. That’s something not too many people can say they’ve done. It’s a blessing every time I step on that field and get that opportunity.” Judge has also spoken openly about how God allowed him and his older brother to be adopted by his parents, Wayne and Patty Judge. “I feel they kind of picked me. I feel that God was the one that matched us together,” he said of his adoption in 2015. His Twitter account has him listed as “Christian. Faith, Family, then Baseball. ‘If what you did yesterday still seems big today, then you haven’t done anything today!’” His banner cites 1 Corinthians 5:7, “For we live by faith, not by sight.” After the last three seasons have been a struggle with injuries, to find himself now having broken Maris’s record this season seems to be that faith made sight.