New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge’s 62nd home run on Tuesday night in Arlington, Texas, sets a new American League record for most dingers in a season – and makes a solid case for why the beloved slugger should be credited with the all-time long-ball distinction.
Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa all hit more in a season – but all three of those players allegedly used performance enhancing drugs.
Roger Maris Jr., son of Roger Maris, the Yankee who previously held the single season American League record of 61 home runs in 1961, called Judge the “new CLEAN HOME RUN KING!”
Despite their record-setting statistics, all three of the steroid-era users have been deprived election into the Baseball Hall of Fame – a clear indication the baseball writers who vote agree with Maris’ assessment.
Cheating has always been a sad shortcut to supposed success, but cheaters soon realize tainted success is really no victory at all. Could Bonds, McGwire and Sosa have accomplished the same without the drugs? Maybe – but we’ll never know. That’s one of the many tragic consequences of cheating. Many people forget Richard Nixon didn’t need any help in the 1972 presidential election, which he won in a landslide. But he was forced to resign two years later after being tied to the Watergate break-in, which was all about collecting “dirt” on his political opponents.
One of the reasons Aaron Judge is universally admired and respected is because he’s seen as one of the good guys – a humble young man with a strong Christian faith doing things the right way, treating people well and playing by the rules. How refreshing.
We know Aaron Judge hails from good parents, has a supportive wife and enjoys all the benefits of a loving family. Wayne and Patty Judge adopted Aaron at birth, along with his biological brother.
“I know I wouldn’t be a New York Yankee if it wasn’t for my mom,” Judge has said. “The guidance she gave me as a kid growing up, knowing the difference from right and wrong, how to treat people and how to go the extra mile and put in extra work, all that kind of stuff. She’s molded me into the person that I am today.”
Judge has similarly good things to say about his father.
“My dad gets done working. He’s tired, he just wants to hang up and rest up. But he’s always taken the time to spend five minutes, ten minutes with me. Those are things, those are memories I hold on to until this day. He’s always been my hero. I’m always a guy who looked up to him.”
A word about Aaron’s adoption – which, of course, set in motion all these good things.
There’s a post circulating online, “liked” and forwarded by many well-intentioned people, suggesting Aaron was adopted because his birthmother “didn’t want him.” Neither Aaron nor his parents have talked publicly about the intimate details surrounding his relinquishment. But assuming his adoption follows the typical pattern and pathway, his birthmother undoubtedly was brokenhearted about her decision. To suggest otherwise cuts deep.
Historically, birthmothers make adoption plans for their sons and daughters because they desperately want to parent – but they desperately want something more. They want to give their baby what they cannot provide – an intact home with a loving mother and father. Yes, there are often drugs and addictions involved, and often even impaired judgement – but a mother’s love may very well be the most intense devotion this side of eternity.
If Aaron Judge’s birthmother is still living, I suspect she is a proud and beaming mother, now only further affirmed that she made the right decision to entrust her baby to Patty and Wayne Judge.
Aaron’s marriage to Samantha Bracksieck in December of 2021 has been downplayed in social media, with the slugger saying very little out of an interest to preserve their privacy. We know they met in high school, went to college together – and according to Judge, his wife adds additional stability and joy to his life.
“My wife has been with me through it all and she’s calm as a cucumber, that’s for sure,” Judge told the New York Post last week.
Given all the bad news and big egos in today’s world, Aaron Judge’s historic home run chase has been a happy part of the summer of 2022 for sports fans.