Welcome to the Aaron Judge Home Run Record Tracker! We take a daily look at where Aaron Judge’s monster season is going against some of the other historical single-season home run leaders in anticipation of Judge potentially joining their ranks. We’ll be using Team Game because not all players’ seasons were in sync with calendar days and not everyone played all team games, making this our universal standard. Now for game 135:
Aaron Judge until 2022 Game 135: 54 HR
Team play 135: 9/5 — 2 for 3, 1 2B, 1 HR, 1 BB, 1 K
The No. 99 played his part in a Labor Day victory, hitting a home run for the third straight game to reach Alex Rodriguez’s Yankees record for right-handed hitters with his 54th home run. The shot came on one of the biggest pitches you’ve ever seen, courtesy of Twins right-hander Trevor Megill. You can’t leave 88 mph sliders in the middle of the zone to a guy like Aaron Judge, who is now right up there with the circuit beats of Mark McGwire, Roger Maris and Sammy Sosa.
Roger Maris until Game 135 of 1961: 53 HR
Team play 135: 9/2 — 3 for 4, 1 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K
After failing to homer for a week, Roger Maris kicked the schneid in impressive fashion, as he threw a pair of home runs against “Yankee Killer” Frank Lary and left-hander Hank Aguirre of the Tigers in a decisive game in the 1961 American League pennant hunt.
The 1961 Yanks are remembered as one of the best teams in franchise history with 109 wins, but these Tigers were no joke – they won 101 alone and started September in three games. against New York. But Maris’ bombs were part of a big streak for Ralph Houk’s ball club as they swept and the race was never close again.
Babe Ruth to 1927 Game 135: 49 HR
Team play 135: 9/8 — 0 for 1, 3BB, 1K
Former Babe Ruth teammate Sad Sam Jones did The Bambino no favors in their pursuit of No. 60. He was walked in his first three plate appearances and hit a popup foul in the seventh, his only batting official. Lame! Throwing around Ruth only did a lot, as New York scored twice and relied on Hall of Fame pitcher Waite Hoyt in a three-hitter for a comprehensive win.
Barry Bonds until 2001 Game 135: 57 HR
Team play 135: 8/31 – 1 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K
It took Barry Bonds until his final batting in a listless 5-1 loss to the Rockies before San Francisco fans really had much to cheer about in this game, but the man delivered. Bonds wiped out right-hander John Thomson’s last pitch of the night for the No. 57, deep into McCovey Cove. The shot made him the third player in National League history to reach that milestone, joining Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, and passing longtime NL record holder Hack Wilson of the 1930 Cubs.
Mark McGwire until 1998 Game 135: 54 HR
Team play 135: 8/28 — 1 for 3, 1 2B, 2 BB, 2 K
The elder Fernando Tatis hit a game-tying home run late in the ninth against the Braves’ Kerry Ligtenberg to give Mark McGwire an extra plate appearance in his bid to reach 55 dingers, but it wasn’t to be that night. 23-year-old veteran Dennis Martínez — “El Presidente ‘himself’ — retired him in the 10th to keep McGwire without a homer; teammate Ron Gant walked away two batters later.
Sammy Sosa until 1998 Game 135: 53 HR
Team play 135: 8/28 — 1 for 4, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB (IBB), 1 GIDP
Amusingly, the same Rockies pitcher who spat the 2001 Bonds bomb in Game 135 also gave up a home run to Sammy Sosa in 1998 in Game 135. On the previous occasion, this happened in the very first round – no surprises at Coors Field. That shot moved Sosa into one from McGwire, though he didn’t go close in his remaining bats.