Aaron Judge remains at 60 home runs, one short of Roger Maris’ American League record, following the New York Yankees’ 2-0 victory Sunday night over the Boston Red Sox that was called after six innings because of rain.
Judge went 1 for 2 with a double and was due up next for the Yankees when play was stopped. The game was called after a 98-minute delay, sending Judge on the road to chase Maris in Toronto this week.
New York can clinch the AL East title with a victory over the Blue Jays on Monday night.
Aaron Judge remains at 60 home runs, one short of Roger Maris’ American League record, following the New York Yankees ‘ 2-0 victory Sunday night over the Boston Red Sox that was called after six innings because of rain
The delay left fans at Yankee Stadium with a difficult decision: wait out a big storm holding out hope of seeing a historic moment, or head home before the hour got too late.
Many in the sellout crowd of 46,707 stuck around until the announcement that the game was called, leaving their seats for dry cover on concourses and under overhangs. Some booed when umpires called for the tarp at 9:15pm, but torrential rain was soon pouring in the ballpark. Loud thunder and lightning flashes accompanied a heavy storm that lasted past 11pm.
‘We’re not leaving,’ said Joe G., who declined to give his last name, during the delay. He made the trip from Pennsylvania and getting the tickets last month as a 30th birthday gift for his first game since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Brayan Bello #66 of the Boston Red Sox pauses in the sixth inning against the New York Yankees as the rain comes down at Yankee Stadium on September 25, 2022 in the Bronx
The game marked Judge’s final chance to catch Maris on New York’s 6-0 homestand — the Yankees play a three-game series in Toronto beginning Monday night, then return home for three games against Baltimore next weekend before wrapping up the regular season at Texas.
‘I don’t think we’re leaving. I’d like them to hurry it up, but I don’t think we’re going anywhere,’ said Brian Cassidy from Ocean View, Delaware.
Cassidy bought tickets as a birthday gift for his father in mid-August and they lucked into a chance to see Judge chase Maris’ home run record in person.
‘I want to see two — one to tie and one to break,’ said Cassidy’s father, Patrick, as they grabbed cover on a concourse between the second and third decks on the third base side.
Judge had gone four games without a home run. Since connecting for No. 60 on Tuesday night against Pittsburgh to spark a ninth-inning comeback in the first game of the homestand, the four-time All-Star was 4 for 15 with three doubles, six walks and six strikeouts.
The New York Yankees are cleared off the field as the tarp is put on the field to start the seventh inning and the game against the Boston Red Sox is in rain delay at Yankee Stadium on September 25, 2022 in the Bronx
The closest he’d come to matching Maris’ 1961 mark was a 404-foot drive caught right in front of the center field fence Thursday.
Judge led off the bottom of the first by grounding a double inside third base against Red Sox rookie Brayan Bello (2-7). The slugger fought back from an 0-2 count to draw a walk in the third and was visibly disappointed when he flied out to center field on a hanging slider in the fifth.
Moments before play was halted, Boston right fielder Rob Refsnyder dropped a two-out fly ball as he looked up into the raindrops. The error allowed Aaron Hicks to score from first base, making it 2-0.
Bello then threw a called third strike past Oswald Peraza, ending the sixth inning with Judge on deck.
A fan holds a sign as New York Yankees designated hitter Aaron Judge prepares to bat against Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Brayan Bello
With the rain intensifying, fans pulled on ponchos and opened umbrellas in the stands. Two umpires huddled with a member of the Yankee Stadium grounds crew in foul territory, and the tarp was rolled onto the infield.
Amanda Peso, from nearby Westchester, bought tickets Thursday and said she and friend Jennifer Lamond, a Red Sox fan from Manhattan, would wait hours for the game to resume.
‘I wanted to wait this out because you never know if Aaron’s going to do it tonight,’ Peso said. ‘So I’m here to support him. I’m a Yankee fan, period. Regardless of this history thing wasn’t about to happen, I would be here and wait it out likely anyway, because I took tomorrow off for this reason.’
Nestor Cortes (11-4) allowed one hit and struck out five in a rain-shortened complete game.
Bello also went the distance giving up one earned run and six hits.
Oswaldo Cabrera doubled leading off the New York fourth and scored on Jose Trevino’s two-out single.
Aaron Judge #99 of the New York Yankees signs autographs before the game against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on Sunday
It’s hard to say how much Judge’s 61st home run ball could be worth, but judging by the scrum to recover his 60th last week, the souvenir is certainly a coveted piece of memorabilia.
Mike Kessler, a 20-year-old City College of New York student, somehow managed to wrestle the ball away from a throng of fans on Tuesday night in the Bronx.
Judge’s ninth-inning longball not only moved him into within one home run of Maris’ Yankees and American League records, but also helped propel New York to a 9-8 comeback win over the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates. Teammate Giancarlo Stanton ultimately won the game with a walk-off grand slam later in the frame.
But as much as Judge accomplished Tuesday night and throughout his historic 2022 campaign, it was Kessler who came away with a sense of victory.
‘It bounced off someone’s hand,’ Kessler told The New York Post. ‘I reached and grabbed it and just bear-hugged it. I just smothered it. It got off to the side. It was a mad pile.’
Throngs of Yankees fans are seen piling on top of each other for Aaron Judge’s 60th home run
Michael Kessler was the fan who caught Aaron Judges historic 60th home run ball and returned it to Judge and the team
Kessler and his friends received autographed balls and bats in exchange for the home run
Kessler was attending the game with his teammates on the CCNY baseball team when Judge’s ninth-inning homer landed in their approximate location in the left-centerfield bleachers. A pile-on quickly ensued, but when it was over, it was Kessler who had the ball.
‘I’m sure it hasn’t processed yet,’ Kessler told The Post. ‘I can’t put it into words just yet.’
Kessler & Co. didn’t keep the ball, however, instead offering it back to Judge and effectively walking away from a potential six-figure payday in the scorching hot sports collectible market. In exchange for their kindness, Kessler and his friends received signed balls and bats from Judge and the Yankees.
‘I just wanted to give back to the success story anyway I could. Give back to Judge for all he’s done for the organization, do my part,’ Kessler told Action Network HQ.
Yankee Roger Maris (left) meets young fan who caught ‘the ball’ Maria hit for his 61st homer of the season October 1st, to surpass the all-time hight of Babe Ruth and place a new record in the books for slugger of the future to shoot at. The fan, Sal Durante, 19, of 1418 Neptune Avenue, Coney Island, NY, told reporters that he will give the historic ball to Maris even fi it turns out there is no reward for it. He said ‘I’ll give it to him for nothing’. Durante caught the 360 foot drive while sitting with his girlfriend, Rose Marie Calabrese, in the right-field stands at Yankee Stadium
Sal Durante holds the ball hit by Roger Maris for his 61st home run during the 1961 season prior to the game against the Boston Red Sox on September 24, 2011 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx
Brooklyn’s Sal Durante catches Roger Maris’ record 61st home run at Yankee Stadium in 1961
Sal Durante, who famously caught Maris’ record 61st home run in 1961, similarly tried to return the ball to Maris, but was told by the slugger to keep it.
‘Keep it, kid,’ Maris told Durante, as the Brooklynite told the New York Post. ‘Put it up for auction. Somebody will pay you a lot of money for the ball.’
Durante still has the ball, which broke Babe Ruth’s record set in 1927.
The Major League record, officially, remains Barry Bonds’ 73 home runs in 2001. After that, Mark McGwire ranks second and fourth on the all-time list (70 homers in 1998, 65 in 1999), while Sammy Sosa holds the third, fifth and sixth spots in the record books (66 in 1998, 64 in 2001, and 63 in 1999).
However, Bonds, McGwire and Sosa have all been linked to steroids through various media reports, calling into question the legitimacy of their records.
Judge, Maris, and Ruth remain free of any such allegations.
Babe Ruth, New York Yankees outfielder, is presented with a crown for his new home run record of 60 by Yankee manager Miller Huggins, center, shortly after the end of the 1927 season, as the chauffeur, right, looks on