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Earlier this week, Yankees slugger Aaron Judge said that he considered Barry Bonds to be the single-season home run record holder, not Roger Maris. Roger Maris Jr. isn’t too thrilled about that.
Judge grew up in California, so it shouldn’t be all that surprising he considers Bonds — steroids or not — the primary home run record holder. When asked, Judge said that he grew up watching Bonds.
If there is a record to chase for Judge, that will be it. For those who need a refresher, Maris hit 61 home runs in the 1961 season. Bonds, meanwhile, hit 73 home runs in the 2001 season.
“Oh, yeah,” Judge said, h/t NJ.com. “That’s the record. I watched him do it. I stayed up late watching him do it. That’s the record. No one can take that from him.”
Roger Maris’ son not thrilled with Aaron Judge’s take
As much as Maris (as far as we know) achieved his record in a clean manner, Bonds definitely did not. Barry was a tremendous hitter, and had perhaps the best batter’s eye we’ve ever seen along with incredible power, but some of his record marks are tainted.
Roger Maris Jr. thinks that should include the single-season home run mark.
“I think a lot of people still look at Dad’s as the real record,” Maris said by phone. “So that was surprising to me…Maybe he is going after Bonds, with the way he’s killing it lately.”
Maris Jr. has gone on the record saying he hopes Judge does not break his father’s mark, as well.
“We don’t want dad’s record to be broken,” Maris Jr. told Newsday. “But by the same token, you want to see someone give it a run and give it their best shot. That’s what dad would always want. Dad always felt that records were made to be broken. If someone’s coming after it and getting the job done and they make it happen, you’ve got to shake their hand and tip your hat to them and say, ‘Great job.’ “
At the very least, it looks like Maris’ AL single-season home run record will fall before the season is over. As for whether Bonds is the real record-holder, that’s a wider discussion altogether.