Move over, Mark McGwire. There’s a new home-run titan in the rookie record books.
New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge hit his 49th homer in the third inning Monday, tying McGwire’s MLB rookie mark set in 1987, then followed that up with his record-breaking 50th homer in the seventh inning.
When it was done, when his stunning rookie season was sealed in history, Judge came out and took a curtain call from the fans at Yankee Stadium.
Aaron Judge on being pushed out of the dugout after No. 50: "First curtain call. I hope it was a good one."
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) September 25, 2017
The first homer came off Kansas City Royals starter Jake Junis. Royals reliever Trevor Cahill gave up dinger No. 50. After his first homer Monday, the question was when Judge would hit another one. The type of hot streak he’s on right now, it didn’t even take until tomorrow.
Monday’s two homers gave Judge’s 13 for the month of September. His thunderous start to the season produced 30 homers before the All-Star break. But an August slump, in which he hit only three homers, made Judge look human again. Now? Well, he’s looking immortal.
Judge’s hot September has placed him back in the AL MVP conversation too. At one point, prior to his August slump, Judge looked like the top contender. Jose Altuve took over the Wins Above Replacement lead and became the favorite. Now, Judge has tied Altuve with 7.3 WAR, according to Fangraphs, giving us a little more award-season drama. Cleveland Indians infielder Jose Ramirez should also get some votes.
Asked about it Monday, Judge said he’d rather end the season with a World Series trophy than the MVP trophy. The Yankees are bound for the postseasin, most likely the AL wild-card game, so that’s both are actually quite possible.
Judge has homered in five of his last seven games, including two Sunday to go along with his two Monday. In total, that’s seven homers in his past seven games.
No rookie had ever topped 40 homers besides McGwire. The closest is Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger, another 2017 dynamo, who recently set the NL rookie record by hitting his 39th.
In an MLB season that’s been defined by the home run, now we wait to see how many more Judge can hit in the Yankees’ final six games.
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