Yankees rightfielder Aaron Judge reacts while rounding the bases after hitting...

Yankees rightfielder Aaron Judge reacts while rounding the bases after hitting a home run against the Twins during the sixth inning of a game on Monday at Yankee Stadium. Credit: AP/Noah K. Murray

Roger Maris Jr. always has been clear that he doesn’t want to see his father’s American League home run record broken, ever.

But as Aaron Judge continues his assault on Roger Maris’ non-tainted home run mark of 61 in 1961, Maris Jr. can’t help but wonder if this is going to be the year his father’s AL record finally falls.

“You never know what’s going to happen,” Maris Jr. told Newsday on Tuesday night in a telephone interview. “But he’s put himself in position.”

Judge had 55 homers going into the second game of Wednesday's doubleheader against the Twins. Judge hit a solo home run in the fourth inning of the Yankees' 5-4, 12-inning victory to give him homers in four straight games. Including the nightcap, the Yankees had 26 games left.

“We don’t want dad’s record to be broken,” Maris Jr. said. “But by the same token, you want to see someone give it a run and give it their best shot. That’s what dad would always want. Dad always felt that records were made to be broken. If someone’s coming after it and getting the job done and they make it happen, you’ve got to shake their hand and tip your hat to them and say, ‘Great job.’ “

Maris Jr. said he has never met Judge. But he delivered one of the highest compliments a Maris can when asked about the Yankees slugger: “He’s kind of like dad, in a sense.”

“I don’t think we could have got a better guy [to chase the record],” Maris Jr. said. “I think he’s just world class as far as who he is and how he conducts himself and how he plays the game of baseball . . . He just plays the game. He puts his nose to the grindstone and goes out there and get the job done.”

Maris said he expects he and his family will try to attend Yankees games in person if and when Judge gets closer to 61.  

“We’re definitely following it,” Maris Jr. said. “It’s definitely exciting. We’re definitely a family that likes home runs and have been around home runs, so obviously it’s something that is intriguing to us and we’re keeping an eye on it and watching what he’s doing, for sure.

“I would assume we’d all come. It depends on how quick it happens – unless he gets on some kind of roll where it happens so quick you can’t get a plane ticket. He’s capable of hitting three in a game. It would be fun to be there and would be very exciting to see him try to get it done.”

Maris’ record is considered by many the “clean” home run record after the performance enhancement drug scandals that tainted Mark McGwire’s 70 home run performance from 1998 and Barry Bonds’ all-time mark of 73 from 2001.

Maris Jr. agreed with the notion that his father’s record is the true home run record.

“I think that’s the general consensus,” he said. “I’ve been watching a bunch of stuff on TV, different clips here and there, and that’s what everybody’s pretty much talking about: This is THE record, as far as an untainted record, a record that’s considered one of the greatest records in sports.”

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