On the night that Aaron Judge tied his father’s American League home run record, Roger Maris Jr. made a bold declaration.
One more home run would give Judge the outright AL lead, but would still leave him 11 shy of Barry Bonds’ MLB record of 73 home runs, which he hit in 2001. Following Judge’s tying shot on Wednesday, though, the younger Maris called Bonds’ total illegitimate, per Brendan Kuty of NJ.com.
“I think it means a lot, not just for me. I think it means a lot for a lot of people,” Maris said. “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 … 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.”
Bonds—along with Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, who also topped Maris’ mark of 61 homers—did so in an era of the game that predated MLB testing for performance-enhancing drugs, and when the use of such PEDs was common. The younger Maris echoes the views of many fans who believe the records from that era to be tainted.
Judge has seven games left to move past Maris, beginning with Friday’s game against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium.
More MLB Coverage:
- Aaron Judge Ties Roger Maris With Historic 61st Home Run
- MLB Roundtable: Judge’s 61 Home Runs Is Not the Record
- Daily Cover: Inside Aaron Judge’s Season in the Shimmer
- Inside The Pinstripes: Anthony Rizzo Assisting Yankees Manager Aaron Boone on Wednesday