(KRON) — Aaron Judge has tied Roger Maris’ American League single-season home run record with 61 dingers, and he has five games left in the season to break it. If you ask some baseball fans, another Judge home run would make him the “real” MLB single-season home run king, even though Barry Bonds launched 73 homers in 2001.
Some say Bonds’ mark shouldn’t count due to steroid allegations that have followed him since the end of his career. But if you ask Judge, the legendary San Francisco Giants outfielder is still king regardless.
“Seventy-three is the record,” Judge told Sports Illustrated. “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.”
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Several other National League sluggers have topped Maris’ 61 home runs. St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Mark McGwire hit 70 home runs in 1998 and 65 the next season. Chicago Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa hit more than 61 homers three times. Both players have been plagued by the same steroid allegations that Bonds faced.
Roger Maris Jr. has weighed in on the matter, saying Judge will be “the actual single-season home run champ” if he gets to 62 home runs. Others, such as ESPN’s Justin Tinsley, have vouched for why Bonds remains king.
If you ask Bonds what he thinks about the situation, he’ll say that he just wants Judge on the Giants. The Northern California native will hit free agency this coming offseason. In an interview with Sportico, Bonds declined to comment about playing in the “steroid era.”