On Wednesday, Aaron Judge blasted his 61st home run of the season, tying Roger Maris for the most in American League history and seventh-most in a single season in MLB history. But according to at least one prominent voice, the title of MLB’s true home run king belongs to the man of the hour.
Roger Maris Jr. said as much after Wednesday night’s after the game, calling Barry Bonds’s total of 73 homers hit in 2001 illegitimate, per Brendan Kuty of NJ.com. He urged for MLB to consider Judge the true record holder of the single-season mark if he eventually hits his 62nd home run between now and 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,” 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’s 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.
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