Good morning to everyone but especially to...
If the last week or so of stress, anticipation, pressure and walks was weighing on Aaron Judge, he certainly didn't show it. That is, until the seventh inning Wednesday, when he could take it all out on Tim Mayza's 3-2 sinker that didn't sink. Judge ripped a 117.4-mile-per-hour drive to left field for his 61st home run of the year, tying Roger Maris' AL single-season record.
It was his hardest-hit home run of the year. In fact, it was his hardest since 2017.Judge had been riding a seven-game homerless streak, tied for his second-longest this season.It's hard to fault him too much: In the 34 plate appearances between No. 60 and No. 61, he walked an absurd 13 times as it seemed like no one wanted to be on the wrong side of history.Oh, and the Yankees went 6-1 during Judge's homerless streak and clinched the AL East as well.
Here's where Judge's latest blast puts him on the all-time list:1. Barry Bonds, 73, 20012. Mark McGwire, 70, 19983. Sammy Sosa, 66, 19984. Mark McGwire, 65, 19995. Sammy Sosa, 64, 20016. Sammy Sosa, 63, 1999T7. Aaron Judge, 61, 2022T7. Roger Maris, 61, 1961
Judge has not been one to pile up empty stats. The Yankees are going to be the No. 2 seed in the AL, and with their other big-name batters being up-and-down all year, Judge was the one constant, coming through in clutch situation after clutch situation. His 24 game-tying or go-ahead home runs are most in MLB this year, as are his three walk-off homers. Even Wednesday, the Yankees had coughed up an early 3-0 lead against the Blue Jays before Judge's two-run blast made it 5-3. Oh, and remember, he's also right in the Triple Crown race.
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What made last night even more special was that Judge's mother, Patty, as well as Roger Maris Jr. were there to witness it, from right behind the Yankees' dugout. Judge tipped his helmet toward his mother, who was grinning ear-to-ear. A wonderful moment for an incredible accomplishment.
For more from the historic blast:
Now for the not-so-fun news for the Yankees fans. Judge is in the final season of his contract. He's putting up historic numbers and many teams would love to have him. Here's who could actually pull it off.
Not so honorable mentions
Hurricane Ian update: NFL sets alternate location for Chiefs-Buccaneers if neededGetty Images
Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida on Wednesday, wreaking havoc on much of the western side of the state. We talked about the impacts of the storm on the sporting world -- especially for college football -- in Wednesday's newsletter, and we now have more details about how it could impact other sports.