Aaron Judge hit one home run in the first 13 games of the season, hardly a pace that would have had you thinking in April that fans would be booing pitchers throwing balls and cheering a walk to Kyle Higashioka to turn over the lineup in October.

Somewhere along the line, he found his home run swing (another 61 times) as the outfielder carried the Yankees to the AL East title and what many predict will be the AL MVP award.

Judge hit home run No. 62 in Game 161 of the season, a first-inning laser off Texas Rangers pitcher Jesus Tinoco. It looked and felt effortless. But Judge's road from 60 to 62 had its share of ups, downs, pressure and more.

Home run No. 60

It no longer has any records attached to it, but the number 60 still carries majesty and aura. It's rarefied air to be in the 60-home run club, a group so far reserved for just six major-leaguers (and three of them are Yankees). 

Surely, six seems like a small group, and it is. But for added context to really drive home the exclusivity of hitting 60 home runs in one season, consider this: According to Baseball Almanac, there have been 20,262 players in MLB history (through games played on Sept. 28, 2022). That means the 60-homer club of Judge, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Roger Maris and Babe Ruth equates to 0.000296% of MLB players in history.

And now, the particulars of home run No. 60 for Judge:

  • Date: Sept. 20, 2022
  • Opponent: Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Pitcher: Wil Crowe
  • Stadium: Yankee Stadium
  • Distance: 430 feet
  • Inning: 9th
  • Runners on: 0
  • Count: 3-and-1
  • Pitch: 95-mph sinker
  • Exit velo: 111.6 mph
  • Location: Left-centerfield

The wait between 60 and 61

It felt like forever for fans as they clung to every pitch of every at-bat of every game. For Aaron Judge, those seven games without a home run probably felt a bit longer. 

  • Plate appearances: 35
  • Walks: 13
  • Hits: 5 
  • Doubles: 3
  • Strikeouts: 8
  • AVG: .261
  • OBP: .528

Home run No. 61

Here's what Aaron Judge had to say after tying Roger Maris for the American League and franchise (and some consider "the real") record with 61 home runs:

This is something special. But we’re not done yet.

No, he wasn't done. Just on a brief delay.

    The particulars of home run No. 61 for Judge:

    • Date: Sept. 28, 2022
    • Opponent: Toronto Blue Jays
    • Pitcher: Tim Mayza
    • Stadium: Rogers Centre
    • Distance: 394 feet
    • Inning: 7th
    • Runners on: 1
    • Count: 3-and-2
    • Pitch: 94-mph sinker
    • Exit velo: 117.4 mph
    • Location: Left-centerfield

    The wait between 61 and 62

    Five full games passed where Judge was rendered homerless after hitting his 61st. Here's a look at how he did at the plate in between 61 and 62:

    • Plate appearances: 23
    • Walks: 5
    • Hits: 3
    • Strikeouts: 7
    • AVG: .176
    • OBP: .409

    Home run No. 62

    With the pressure mounting, Judge put it all behind to lead off the second game of a doubleheader — Game 161 of the Yankees' season.

    The particulars of home run No. 62 for Judge:

    • Date: Oct. 4, 2022

    • Opponent: Texas Rangers

    • Pitcher: Jesus Tinoco

    • Stadium: Globe Life Field

    • Distance: 391 feet

    • Inning: 1st

    • Runners on: 0

    • Count: 1-and-1

    • Pitch: 88-mph slider

    • Exit velo: 100.2 mph

    • Location: Leftfield

    The Yankees' Aaron Judge hit his 62nd home run on Tuesday against the Rangers, breaking the single-season American League record set by Roger Maris in 1961. NewsdayTV's David Lennon reports. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke; Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.; Jim McIsaac

    Evolution of the home run record

    People will debate if Judge's 62 home runs is the "real" single-season home run record since everyone ahead of him has been tainted by the Steroid Era and performance-enhancing drugs. 

    But no matter which side of the debate you come down on, this much is true: After 61 years, no American League player has ever hit more home runs in one season than Judge. 

    Here's a look at how baseball's single-season home run record has evolved over the decades in each league.

    Aaron Judge home run finder

    If your favorite number happens to fall between 1 and 62, enter it here to see the details on that particular home run by Judge this season. Or enter a team or pitcher to see how many homers Judge hit against them. Or just explore this Aaron Judge 2022 home run finder however you wish.

    Aaron Judge home runs all-time

    Judge's home run total this season bested his career high of 52 set in 2017 and is among the top 20 single-season totals in MLB history.

    Aaron Judge home run spray chart

    Like most power hitters, Aaron Judge tends to pull the ball more on his home runs. But the righthanded hitter does have power to all fields, including 31% of his home runs going the opposite way. 

    Take a look at Judge's home run spray chart this season.

    Aaron Judge home runs by inning

    Baseball's new conventional wisdom has been to limit a pitcher from facing hitters for a third time in a game. A look at Judge's home run breakdown by inning suggests they may not want to face him any time during the game.

    Another chase, too

    While the eyes of the baseball world were fixated on Judge's power, he also was putting himself in the thick of another historic milestone: a Triple Crown. With both the home run and RBI leads safely in his grasp, Judge roared into the batting average race over the final month of the season alongside the Twins' Luis Arraez and Xander Bogaerts of the Red Sox.

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