On Monday afternoon, Aaron Judge tied and surpassed the MLB rookie record for home runs.
A hot first half made New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge an instant star thanks to his 30 home runs, and he was Home Run Derby champion in Miami during All-Star week. A second-half slump was easy to see coming, though, due to an unsustainable power rate and a lot of strikeouts.
But a recent power surge, with 11 home runs in September and two round trippers on Sunday, gave Judge 48 home runs for the season. Entering Monday’s action, Judge was on the doorstep of Mark McGwire’s rookie record for home runs set in 1987 .
In the bottom of the third inning Monday afternoon against the Kansas City Royals, with a two-run shot off starter Jake Junis, Judge tied McGwire’s mark with his 49th home run of the season.
And then in the seventh inning off Royals’ reliever Trevor Cahill, with a solo blast, Judge set a new rookie record mark with his 50th home run of the season.
As expected, Judge got a well-deserved curtain call from the home crowd at Yankee Stadium after hitting No. 50.
It’s a foregone conclusion Judge will win American League Rookie of the Year this year, and he’s in the conversation for league MVP too. He’s hitting .283 with a 1.038 OPS, 50 home runs (obviously), and 108 RBI after Monday’s record-tying and setting display, along with 203 strikeouts.
Judge has spawned a fan section in the seats at Yankee Stadium, which is a rare feat in itself. But he now holds the MLB record for home runs by a rookie. He’s even got a few more days to add to the tally, and make that mark last at least as long as the nearly exactly 30 years that McGwire’s did.