The newest home run king of the American League is a man of faith who wants to spread the credit for his achievement.
Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees hit his 62nd home run of the season Tuesday to surpass Roger Maris' 61-year-old record of 61 home runs, the old American League record. Judge was the first Major League Baseball player since the so-called "steroid era" two decades ago to hit at least 60 homers in one season. All those players competed in the National League.
"The Babe hitting 60 in '27, The Jolly Roger hitting 61 in '61, and now Aaron Judge hits his 62nd home run"— New York Yankees (@Yankees) October 5, 2022
Judge hit his 62nd home run during a doubleheader at Texas with only one day left in the regular season.
"I gotta thank God for putting me in this position and getting me to where I'm at, [and] the constant support from my family and friends who have been with me through it all – coaches from Little League, high school, college that have been here [and] instructed me and helped me out through this whole thing," Judge told MLB Network. "Anytime individual records, individual awards are given, it's never individual. It's never single-handedly done. It's through a group effort. People behind the scenes, family support, friends, teammates.
"So I can't stand up here and say this is a great accomplishment for me. This is something for my family, for my teammates, for the Yankees," he added. "This is a group effort that I'm happy to share."
The 30-year-old Judge references his faith on his social media accounts. His Twitter bio reads, "Christian. Faith, Family, then Baseball." His bio also includes a verse, 2 Corinthians 5:7: "For we walk by faith, not by sight."
The six players above Judge in the Major League Baseball record books all played in the National League during the steroid era.
Asked about the controversy this week, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said he'll leave it up to fans to decide.
"I think that over the history of the game, there have been different eras, the ball performed differently, the equipment was different, and I think the best way to handle it is let fans make their own judgment as to what records are most significant to them," Manfred said, according to The Athletic.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Cole Burston/Stringer
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.