Roger Maris Jr says Aaron Judge is the new holder for the most home runs in a season, not his father

Roger Maris Jr has sensationally claimed that Aaron Judge should be considered as the new holder of the record for the most runs in a single season after he tied for the milestone, set by Roger Maris, 61 years before. 

The son of the Yankees legend, who passed away in 1985 at 51-years-old, was in the stands on Wednesday when Judge tied his father’s record, established in 1961, in an emphatic 8-3 win for the Yankees against the Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. 

‘It means a lot, not just for me. I think it means a lot for a lot of people that he’s clean, he’s a Yankee, he plays the game the right way and I think he gives people a chance to look at somebody who should be revered for hitting 62 home runs and not just as a guy who did it in the American League,’ said Maris Jr in a postgame interview after Judge’s achievement. 

Aaron Judge meets with Roger Maris Jr. after tying his father’s 61 home run record Wednesday 

Judge hit his 61st home run of the season in the seventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays

Judge hit his 61st home run of the season in the seventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays

Roger Maris Sr beat Babe Ruth's 60-home run record in 1961 after playing 155 games for NY

Roger Maris Sr beat Babe Ruth’s 60-home run record in 1961 after playing 155 games for NY

‘He should be revered and celebrated just like the single season home run champ, not just like he’s the American league home run champ,’ Maris Jr added. ‘He should be celebrated. I can’t think of anyone better that baseball can look up to as Aaron Judge, who is the face of baseball, to actually do that.’ 

Maris’ 1961 home run record is seen as somewhat of a controversy in today’s lenses as the previous single-season home run record – 60 – set by Babe Ruth in 1927 was achieved in a time period when the league ran on a 154-game full schedule for all 30 MLB teams. 

Before Maris broke Ruth’s record, the schedule for American League teams had been altered to 62 games. Maris also hit his 61st home run in the last game of the season, leading to skepticism over the legitimacy of his record. 

Controversy over the record didn’t stop there, however, as both Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds surpassed the milestone, respectively with 73 and 70 homeruns  in 1998 and 2001 before both players were found guilty of using performance-enhancing drugs. 

‘I do. I think most people do,’ said Maris Jr when asked if he disqualifies Bonds and McGwire’s achievements when it comes to his father’s record. 

Judge celebrated with teammates after reaching Maris' milestone at Rogers Center in Toronto

Judge celebrated with teammates after reaching Maris’ milestone at Rogers Center in Toronto

Maris Jr agreed that Barry Bonds' 71-home run record in 2001 should be viewed as illegitimate

Maris Jr agreed that Barry Bonds’ 71-home run record in 2001 should be viewed as illegitimate 

The league has stated on previous occasions that it sees Bonds’ record of 73 homers as the official ceiling. The now-retired batter reached the achievement while playing for the San Francisco Giants.

MLB’s stance won’t bother Maris Jr, as he considers Judge to be the true record breaker. He has even attended each of the last nine Yankees games, and watched Judge successfully bat for 60 on September 20 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

However, both individuals did not meet until Wednesday night, when Judge finally reached 61. They met for the first time at the Yankees clubhouse, after Maris Jr sat right next to Judge’s mother, Patty, at the game. 

‘The philosophy was, “Let Aaron do what Aaron is doing, trying to hit the home runs and not be a distraction,”‘ Maris Jr said. ‘Obviously, the Yankees are trying to get a playoff berth… I didn’t want to meet him until he actually hits the home run.’

It took time and patience for the record to be broken, as Judge was scoreless throughout the last seven games, his second-longest drought in a single season.        

‘Aaron’s driving us around from country to country, trying to watch him hit his 61st,’ Maris Jr joked. ‘It’s been kind of crazy. It seemed like every time he comes to bat, it’s a 3-2 count, so we get to sit there and just [deal with] anticipation on anticipation, pitch after pitch after pitch.’

Funny enough, Judge hit a 117-mph homer over the left field wall in the top of the seventh while the Blue Jays’ Tim Mayza was pitching 3-2.

‘The ironic thing was, it’s the ninth day I’ve been here,’ Maris Jr. said. ‘He wears 99, my dad wore 9. It’s just kind of weird the way it all went together.’ 

Maris Jr sat next to Judge's mother, Patty, who embraced her son after Wednesday's game

Maris Jr sat next to Judge’s mother, Patty, who embraced her son after Wednesday’s game

Now, Judge will focus on surpassing Maris’ 61-home run record and will have a chance to do that against the Baltimore Orioles in New York on Friday.  

‘Now I’m thinking, ”OK, we’re going to go to Yankee Stadium and he’ll probably hit 62 on October the first, when dad hit his 61st,”’ said Maris Jr. ‘Just a lot of weird similarities.’

However, the son of the Yankees legend doesn’t expect a similar drought before the occasion. 

‘I don’t think it’s going to take very long,’ Maris Jr. said. ‘I think he’s loose. I think the party [for officially winning the AL on Tuesday], the celebration, I think loosened him up. After he hit that home run and came to bat the next time you could just see his face, I mean, he hit another seed. You can tell he’s back and he’s ready to go.’

‘I think it will happen in New York and it’s where you want it to happen. It’s where I want it to happen,’ he added with emphasis. ‘The city of New York deserves it, the fans deserve it. I think it will be great for baseball if it happens in New York. Like I mentioned to Aaron, ”Get to New York and hit 62 and knock the top off Yankee Stadium.” It’s going to be fun.’

Maris Jr also evoked how proud his father would have been for Judge, if he were still alive today to see his record tied, and potentially broken. The Yankees’ legendary batter would have been 88-years-old.

‘He would obviously be very proud of Aaron because of the way he carries himself, the way he comes to the ballpark every day mentally prepared, physically prepared,’ Maris Jr. said. ‘It’s all about doing the team thing. It’s all about winning, and the focus on winning a championship and bringing a world championship.’