Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger each have a chance to break the rookie record for home runs in a season.
Mark McGwire, the player who set the record with 49 in 1987, is admiring their pursuit.
Judge, the Yankees rightfielder, returns from the All-Star break with 30 homers in 84 games. Bellinger, the Dodgers’ first baseman/outfielder who debuted on April 25, has 25 in 70 games.
McGwire had 33 homers for the A’s at the break as he went after the record of 38 held jointly by Wally Berger (1930 Reds) and Frank Robinson (1956 Reds).
“They’ve been so impressive and so awesome to watch,’’ McGwire, 53, the bench coach for the Padres, wrote in an email forwarded by the team. “Being able to watch Bellinger from the other dugout and watch Judge from afar — I wish them the best of luck. The record could very well be shattered. It was a 31-year-old record when I broke it and now it’s been 30 years since, and they have a chance to break it. They are two truly awesome power hitters. Fans love the long ball. I’m glad it’s back.”
McGwire, who hit 583 homers in a 16-year career from 1986 to 2001, admitted in a 2010 statement to The Associated Press that he used steroids in 1998 when he set a then-single-season record of 70 homers. In his admission, McGwire said he first used steroids in the 1989-90 offseason, implying it had no effect on his rookie record. Major League Baseball recognizes all records set in the so-called Steroid Era.