Sep 24, 2022 - Sports

MLB's Aaron Judge, Albert Pujols notch a historic September

Photos: Joshua Bessex and Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge and Cardinals designated hitter Albert Pujols have notched historic Septembers at the plate, with Judge likely to make more history before the month is over.

The big picture: Judge, 30, and Pujols, 42, have electrified the second half of the MLB season with their hot bats and historic home runs.

  • Judge hit his 60th home run of the season on Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates and is now one away from tying the longtime American League record of 61 homers by Roger Maris with 12 games left in the regular season.
  • Only five players — Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Roger Maris and Babe Ruth — have reached 60. But McGwire has admitted to steroid use while Bonds and Sosa have denied allegations that they used performance-enhancing drugs.

What they're saying: “When you talk about Ruth and Maris and [Mickey] Mantle and all these Yankees greats, you never imagine as a kid getting mentioned with them,” Judge said.

  • “It’s an incredible honor and something I don’t take lightly at all. We’re not done.”

By the numbers: Pujols, already a future Hall-of-Famer, joined baseball greats Bonds, Ruth and Hank Aaron as the only players to hit 700-plus home runs in their careers. The veteran hit No. 699 and No. 700 against the Dodgers, his former team.

  • He is also just the second player in league history to join the 3,000-hit and 700-home run club.
  • "It's pretty special," Pujols said after the game, per ESPN.
  • "When it's really going to hit me is when I'm done, at the end of the season, when I'm retired, and probably a moment or two after that I can look at the numbers."

Between the lines: Judge's monster season comes before he enters free agency.

  • The four-time All-Star turned down the Yankees' seven-year, $213.5 million extension offer and wouldn't negotiate during the season, preferring to focus on the "job on the field," ESPN reports.
  • The Yankees have said they intend to keep Judge in New York.

Of note: Judge is also in the hunt for the Triple Crown — a rare achievement when a hitter leads his league in batting average, home runs and RBIs in the same season.

  • The last two players to win the Triple Crown were the Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera in 2012 and the Boston Red Sox's Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.

What's next: The postseason.

  • Entering the homestretch of the regular season, the Yankees (92-58) have clinched their postseason berth with the Cardinals (89-63) likely to join them as the top team in the NL Central.
  • Pujols has won two World Series Championships in 2006 and 2011 — both with the Cardinals. Judge is still looking for his first ring and the Yankees' first championship since 2009.
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