Aaron Judge joins exclusive club with 40th home run before August and sets Yankees record for multi-HR play

Aaron Judge joins exclusive club with 40th home run before August and sets Yankees record for multi-HR play

Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge ended Thursday night’s game against the Royals with a walk-off home run. On Friday he went deep twice more and made some history in the process.

First, a two-run shot in the bottom of the third inning to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead.

The lead wouldn’t last long as the Royals would go five runs in the fifth. It was still 5-3 royals heading into the bottom of the eighth inning. The Yankees would field an eighth. The exclamation point was a grand slam for Judge:

The Yankees won and advanced to 68-33 for the season, good for the best record in the AL.

However, let’s talk about Judge’s personal awards here. He’s now hitting 41 home runs in the season and we haven’t changed the calendar to August yet. He actually has two more games left, but these are the only players in baseball history to hit 40 home runs before August.

  • Barry Bonds, 45, 2001
  • Mark McGwire, 45, 1998
  • Sammy Sosa, 42, 1998
  • Aaron Richter, 41, 2022
  • Luis Gonzalez, 41, 2001
  • Ken Griffey Jr., 41, 1998
  • Jimmie Foxx, 41, 1932
  • Babe Ruth, 41, 1928
  • Sammy Sosa, 40, 1999
  • Matt Williams, 40, 1994
  • Reggie Jackson, 40, 1969
  • Roger Maris, 40, 1961

While not impossible, Judge is quite unlikely to get the record, but that’s still rare air. Bonds would finish with 73 home runs, McGwire with 70. In both Sosa entries on the list above, he listed 60 home runs, and of course there’s the Maris 61 home run season. This means that prior to August a player hit 40 homers 11 times and 60 homers five times (Babe Ruth’s 60 homer season was in 1927). We can throw an asterisk at Williams too, as the season ended less than two weeks later due to a strike – meaning we’re down to essentially 60 at half the previous entries.

We’ve already asked Judge how you hit 60 home runs, although he understandably prefers not to talk about itmaintains a pace that keeps the discussion relevant.

Also, this is Judge’s ninth multi-HR game of the season. That’s a Yankees record, believe it or not. Babe Ruth (this time in 1927), Mickey Mantle (1961), A-Rod (2007) and Gleyber Torres (2019) previously tied for the record with eight.

Judge’s career best home run is 52, which he hit in 2017 as a rookie. Last year he reached 39 in 148 games, so he’s already passed that mark with 98. He leads the majors in home runs, RBI, and runs scored.

What Judge does with the racquet this season has been so special that his standout plays with the glove are sometimes overlooked. In the first inning, Kansas City leadoff batter MJ Melendez hit a 98-mph fastball destined to land two feet behind the wall in right field before the 6-foot-7 umpire went up and brought it back.

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