Archive for October 5, 2022

As you might have heard if you follow baseball at all Aaron Judge led off the Yankees penultimate game of the regular season with his 62 home run of the season to set a new American League all time record.

On the other hand it wasn’t enough to give the Yankees a win as the once unbeatable team dropped the game to the lowly rangers by a score of 3-2

The one mountain that stands between Judge and the triple crown (lead in HR, RBI & AVG) which would be on the 2nd of the 21st century is Luis Arraez or more specifically his hamstring which has kept him out of games since Saturday. Judge will need to go 4-4 or 5-6 to catch him. If he manages to do this then people will not just be comparing him to Maris this season but to Ted Williams who famously went 6-8 in a doubleheader to finish the 1941 season at .406 the last man to hit .400 rather than settling for .3995 if he sat and making the landmark via a rounding.

One thing that 62nd home run does is take some of the pressure off the MVP voters.

You might think that Judge, would be the clear favorite over last years’ MVP Shohei Othani if you put their triplecrown stats side by side

PlayerBatting AvgHome RunsRuns Batted In
Aaron Judge.31162130
Shohei Othani.2783495

However Othani’s has something the Judge doesn’t have, a Pitching line

PlayerGames as PitcherIPWinsLossesPctStrikeoutsERA
Aaron Judgenonenonen/an/an/an/an/a
Shohei Othani27161158.6522132.35

Judge is 1st in Wins above replacement among batters with Othani 2nd, however Othani is also 2nd in wins above replacement among PITCHERS in the AL, 4th in ERA, 4th in wins . 3rd in strikeouts and did all of this for a team that is going to miss the playoffs and not even get to a .500 record..

Othani is clearly the more valuable player but as long as he is putting up batting and pitching stats like this he would naturally win every single year which the voters don’t want, Judge reaching a thrice in 122 year milestone give the voters and excuse to place Shohei 2nd.

When Babe Ruth (the other great hitting pitcher who was converted to the OF to take advantage of his bat every day) hit his 60’s HR in 1927 he reported said:

“Sixty! Count ’em, 60! Let’s see some other son of a bitch match that!”

It took 34 years and a slightly longer season (162 vs 154 games) for someone, namely Roger Maris to do so with 61

It took a further 61 years and both a DH rule and interleague play for that American league record of 61 to become 62.

Here’s the real oddity.

The only people in American League History to hit 60 homes or more have all been Left Handed Yankee Outfielders playing in a year the Yanks finished 1st.

You have to go back to Hank Greenberg of the Detroit tigers for the next highest man at 58. Mark McGuire’s 58 were split between Oakland (AL) and St Louis (NL)

This also raises a buggaboo for me.

A lot of people are making a larger fuss over Judge because his 62 was done without “juicing” or any kind of steroids, but consider he also was not facing pitchers who were juicing as well.

Or to put it another way. Despite the steroids the number of players who have reached 60+ home runs in the National league is the same number of player who have reached 60 home runs in the American League three (AL Judge, Maris, Ruth), as there have been in the national league (Bonds, McGuire, Sosa)

The difference is quantity Bonds reached 73 home runs in 2001 but never reached 50 any other year. McGuire would manage 70 in 1998 and 65 the next year before age and injury got to him. The real Irony is Sosa who would actually manage it three times while never leading the league with 66 in 98, 63 in 99 both times 2nd to McGuire and 64 in 2001 the year Bonds broke the record.

My thought is it was just as tough to hit those HR’s in the steroid era as without them because again, Judge, Maris and Ruth didn’t have to face juiced up pitchers at the same time.

Baseball will be a lot better off admitting that white regrettable the steroids’ era was a fun time in the game, the fans loved the game of that era and the players that played it and the sooner we get over it the sooner the game will recover.