LOS ANGELES – Aaron Judge is used to the attention. How could he not be? He’s played for the Yankees for seven years, he’s 6-foot-7, nearly won MVP in his rookie season and has as much home run power as anyone in the game. Of course he’s used to being in the spotlight.
And, yeah, if you ask him about hitting 60 home runs in a season, he’s cool with it. He’s been hearing that question for years, too, even if he’d probably rather not think about it.
“I try not to, but people keep asking me that question,” he said with a laugh ahead of the All-Star Game earlier this week in L.A.
Especially this season. We’ll get to that in a second.
Judge has gotten within the ballpark before. He hit 52 homers in 2017. He hit 27 the next season in 112 games, but injuries prevented more. Same with 2019, when he hit 27 in 102 games. Someone with his raw power absolutely has a shot to join the 60-homer club — comprised only of Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and two Yankees legends in Babe Ruth and Roger Maris.
It’s just an incredibly difficult task to homer 60-plus times over the course of 162 games.
“I might have a better answer at the end of the year if it happens. If I get to that point, we can talk about it. Until then, it’s just so hard,” Judge said. “We’re only halfway through. Only being halfway there, it’s tough to talk about.”
Well, maybe for him. It’s extremely easy for the rest of us to discuss it.
Judge leads the majors with 33 home runs right now. Only seven players in history have ever had more than 33 homers at the All-Star break. Roger Maris had exactly 33 in 1961. So did Sosa in 1998. The record is 39, which is as outlandish as it sounds, from Barry Bonds in 2001.
The Yankees have played 92 games, so that means Judge is on pace to hit 58 this season. There have only been 14 58-homer seasons in MLB history.
Falling two shy of 60, though, would be tantamount to a tease job. So many of us want to see another player get to the hallowed plateau of 60. We should probably just leave him alone about it for the time being, though. There’s no need to pester him, personally.