On Thursday, the Yankees beat the Red Sox 5-4 to seal their spot in the 2022 postseason, but that achievement was overshadowed by Judge and his pursuit of greatness.
The right-fielder nearly made history in the bottom of the ninth inning. The slugger’s connection looked destined to reach the center field netting, but dropped just short into the glove of Kiké Hernández.
“Just got underneath it a little bit,” Judge said after the game. “It was a pretty windy night. I was hoping it was blowing out. Just missed it.”
With the Yankees qualified for the postseason and the Red Sox having nothing to play for in the season other than pride, Judge will take center stage as he pursues an amazing accomplishment.
The 30-year-old has already matched Babe Ruth’s total from over 90 years ago and could level — or surpass — Maris’ 61-year-old record, sealing his spot among the all-time batting greats.
“I keep saying over and over, Aaron Judge; everyone should just watch and take notice,” Yankees head coach Aaron Boone said earlier this week after Judge hit his 60th HR. “I can say this because I’ve lived this and he’s shown this: he puts his focus on being a great teammate and winning. He knows everything else will take care of itself.”
Judge disagrees with that assertion. Last week, he told Sports Illustrated, “Seventy-three is the record In my book. No matter what people want to say about that era of baseball, for me, they went out there and hit 73 homers and 70 homers, and that to me is what the record is.
“[The] AL record is 61, so that is one I can kind of try to go after. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it’s been a fun year so far.”
Despite his humble demeanor, Judge is on the verge of becoming a true New York Yankee great with this season’s historic offensive performance.
As Boone said, “I think it puts it a notch above. I got to believe it’s right there with some of the best very short list of all-time seasons.”
CNN’s Harry Enten contributed to this report.