All rise for No. 60.
Fans rose to their feet at Yankee Stadium as Aaron Judge approached the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning on Tuesday, hoping to witness history. They then were sent into a frenzy when he crushed his 60th home run of the season and Giancarlo Stanton soon followed with a walk-off grand slam in the Yankees’ 9-8 win over the Pirates.
With one more home run, Judge will match the 61 hit by Roger Maris in 1961, which stands as the single-season record for the Yankees franchise and the American League.
Judge joined an exclusive club by reaching one of baseball's most hallowed numbers, becoming the sixth player in MLB history to reach the milestone. In addition to Maris, he joins Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and, of course, Babe Ruth.
The Yankee mystique - which mostly haunted opposing teams across the street at the original “House That Ruth Built” - was out in full force on the night Judge matched the 60 home runs Ruth hit in 1927.
"I don't think about the numbers," Judge told reporters after the game. "When you talk about Ruth and Maris and Mantle and all these Yankee greats that did so many great things in this game, you never imagine as a kid getting mentioned with then. It's an incredible honor and something I don't take lightly at all."
With the Yankees trailing by four entering the bottom of the ninth, Judge led off the inning having previously gone 0-for-3 with a walk. Judge hit a 3-1 pitch 430 feet into the bleachers in left-center field, leaving fans to battle for the historic baseball.
Anthony Rizzo followed Judge with a double, Gleyber Torres walked and Josh Donaldson singled to load the bases for the Yankees. That set the stage for Stanton, whose long ball proved to be more dramatic than Judge’s 60th in the same inning.
"Just one of those really magical innings," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
In what has been a magical season for Judge. With 147 games played and 15 remaining for the Yankees, Judge is on pace to hit 66 home runs, per FanGraphs.
Ruth hit his 60th home run in his 154th and final game of the season and Maris hit his in the 159th.
Bonds holds the overall single-season record with 73 home runs in 2001, topping the 70 hit by McGwire and 66 by Sosa during the home run chase of 1998. That duo combined to eclipse the 60-mark five times over a four-season stretch, with McGwire hitting 65 home runs in 1999 and Sosa crushing 64 in 2001 and 63 in 1999.
Judge is also looking to join Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle as the third Yankee to win the Triple Crown, which has been achieved overall just 12 times by 10 players. The 30-year-old outfielder currently leads all three triple crown categories in the AL with a .316 batting average, having moved one point ahead of Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts on Tuesday night, and 128 RBIs.
Judge has a commanding lead in this season's home run race, sitting comfortably ahead of Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Kyle Schwarber, who has 40.
A California native drafted by the Yankees in the first round in 2013, Judge hit 52 home runs during his rookie season in 2017. His 60 home runs and counting this year is the most hit in a single season since Stanton hit 59 while with the Miami Marlins in 2017.
Judge hit his 58th and 59th home run on Sunday while going 4-for-5 at the plate in the Yankees’ 12-8 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. It was his 11th multi-home-run game of the season, matching the single-season record shared by Sammy Sosa (1998) and Hank Greenberg (1938).
Judge will look to tie another record on Wednesday by matching Maris when the Yankees again host the Pirates.