As we enter the final two months of the 2022 Baseball Season, Aaron Judge continues to be in the spotlight of baseball as he continues his pursuit to make baseball history, entering the month of August with 43-round trippers. In the past month, we have heard baseball broadcasters, sports talk radio hosts, and sportswriters, all speak of passing the historic season total of 60, 61 home runs, and 62 being the magic number. Most refer to it as the Yankee franchise record, and many avoid calling it what it really is, “The Legitimate” record.
Sammy Sosa passed the 60 home run mark three times in his career in 1998,1999,and 2001 hitting 66 63, and 64 home runs respectively. Mark McGwire hits 70 Home Runs in 1998, followed by 65 in 1999 so in 2022, why are the numbers 60 and 61 still relevant? The simple answer, in 1998 they both cheated, and they were given accolades, they both took bows for an accomplishment that neither player earned nor deserved.
As we examine baseball history, Babe Ruth set the record of hitting 60 Home Runs in 1927, a record that stood for 34 years. In 1961 Roger Maris breaks the record by hitting 61, in baseball’s first 162-game season (Ruth played in a 154-game season). Roger Maris certainly did not receive any accolades and was treated terribly by the press and baseball fans alike. Why? Simply because in 1961 the regular season schedule was changed from a 154 to a162 game schedule. M.L.B. changed the schedule, not Roger Maris. Think of all the players who have never topped the 60 home run mark. Listed are some of baseball’s all-time great sluggers, Jimmie Foxx, Hank Greenberg, Ted Williams, Ralph Kiner, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Willie McCovey,
Mike Schmidt, Reggie Jackson, Ken Griffey Jr., etc. All these all-time greats fell short, but Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, both eclipsed this milestone in the same season.
So when a true baseball fan, does not embrace the 1998 record-breaking season, keep in mind, “The Cheaters” were praised and given accolades while the player who played the game “by the rules” received a daily barrage of death threats, and hate mail as if he did something wrong.
Barry Bonds does hold the single-season record when he shattered the single-season record by hitting 73 in 2001 he most likely did have some “extra help” that season. But, Barry Bonds is an all-time great five-tool player, and his career was not the product of steroids, as is, in the case of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa.
At baseballsgreatesthitters.com, we feel if Aaron Judge does manage to hit 62 home runs this season, this will help legitimize the record, give the well-deserved credit back to Roger Maris and expose Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa and hold them both accountable for the damage they did to the record books and to the history of the game we love.