Yankees slugger Aaron Judge hit his 61st home run of the season in Toronto on Wednesday night, leading New York to a 8-3 win over the Blue Jays and, more memorably, tying the American League single-season record set by Roger Maris in 1961. Judge has now surpassed the 60-homer record set by Babe Ruth in 1927 — the record Maris broke first — and has seven more games to swat in home run No. 62. Ruth, Maris, and Judge were all Yankees.
Judge's seventh-inning, tie-breaking homer Wednesday night flew over the left-field fence, hitting right below the railing and dropping into the Toronto bullpen. Blue Jays bullpen coach Matt Buschmann handed it back to the Yankees. Judge's mother and Roger Maris Jr. were among those watching the hit from front row seats.
Three National League players have hit more than 61 home runs in a season, and Barry Bonds holds the record, 73, for the San Francisco giants in 2001. Mark McGwire hit 70 homers for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998, and Sammy Sosa topped out at 66 home runs in 1998 for the Chicago Cubs. All three records were tainted by steroid use, and many fans considered Maris the holder of the "clean" single-season record, The Associated Press reports. Major League Baseball started testing for performance enhancing drugs in 2004.