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Oct. 4, 2022, 11:25 p.m. EDT

Yankees star Aaron Judge slams home run No. 62, breaking Roger Maris’ 61-year-old A.L. record

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By Associated Press

ARLINGTON, Texas — Aaron Judge took a smooth, mighty swing, then broke into a big smile as he trotted around the bases. Heading home, his teammates backed away, letting him touch the plate alone.

At last, the New York Yankees slugger had the American League home run record all to himself.

Judge hit his 62nd home run of the season  Tuesday night, breaking Roger Maris’ American League record and setting what some fans consider baseball’s “clean” standard.

After slamming his helmet in a rare show of frustration when he went without a homer in the first game of the doubleheader in Texas, Judge hit the third pitch of the nightcap into the first row of seats in left field.

That trip around the bases after a long chase was certainly a mixture of pure joy and relief for No. 99, whose only homer in the previous 13 games had been when he tied Maris’ 61 last Wednesday in Toronto.

Judge did it just in time, too, homering on the next-to-last day of the regular season.

Barry Bonds holds the major league record of 73 home runs, set with the San Francisco Giants in 2001.

Judge’s milestone ball was caught by Cory Youmans of Dallas, who was sitting in Section 31. When asked what he was going to do with the ball while being taken away with security to have the ball authenticated, Youmans responded, “Good question. I haven’t thought about it.”

Previously: Dropping Aaron Judge’s 61st home-run ball might have cost this fan $250,000 or more

Another fan was escorted away after leaping over the rail into a gap between the seats and the left-field wall.

Almost as soon as Judge connected on a 1-1 slider from Texas right-hander Jesús Tinoco, his Yankees teammates streamed out of the dugout to celebrate with him. But they stayed away from home plate — leaving him to step on it before sharing hugs and high-fives.

New York wound up losing 3-2 after winning the opener 5-4. With one game left in the regular season, the split left the Yankees with a fitting 99-62 record — Judge’s number and his home run total.

Judge’s mother and father were in the stands to see the 30-year-old outfielder end a five-game homerless streak, including the earlier game Tuesday when he was 1 for 5 with a single.

The Maris family wasn’t in Texas after following Judge around for a while, but  Roger Maris Jr. tweeted , “Congratulations to Aaron Judge and his family on Aaron’s historic home run number 62! It has definitely been a baseball season to remember. You are all class and someone who should be revered. For the MAJORITY of the fans, we can now celebrate a new CLEAN HOME RUN KING!!”

When the top of the first ended, and Judge went to take his place in right field, he carried the glove and cap of first baseman DJ LeMahieu, who patted him on the back.

The fans in right field cheered Judge loudly while he warmed up by tossing a ball back and forth with center fielder Harrison Bader. Judge then provided another souvenir ball when he tossing the one he had warmed up with several rows deep.

Judge, eligible to become a free agent after this season, struck out on a full-count pitch when batting again in the second.

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