Opinion: Aaron Judge is the New Home Run King

AJ Tarzia '24, Junior Sports Editor

Last week against the Texas Rangers, Aaron Judge made American League history when he hit his 62nd home run off Jesus Tinoco. Judge’s season has been one for the record books thus far, and he is looking to play a significant piece in the New York Yankees postseason run. The right fielder is batting .311, which is fifth in the league. He leads the league in home runs and on-base percentage, and is tied for first in runs batted in (131). 

After he surpassed Roger Meris (61), baseball fans began to question if Aaron Judge was the true home run record holder. The all-time home run record is held by Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants, who notched 73 home runs during the 2001-02 season. Although Bonds had 11 more home runs during his season, there were many allegations throughout his career of the use of PEDs (Performance Enhancing Drugs), which considerably help increase a player’s athletic ability. Furthermore, Bonds set the record when he was 36 years old. Normally, professional baseball players reach their prime from ages 25-30. Bonds set the record six years after the average player’s prime. Today, we are still questioning if Bonds used PEDs during his historic season or if he is just one of the best hitters of all time.

In my opinion, Aaron Judge is the new home run record holder. As a Red Sox fan, this is very hard to admit, but he deserves the home run title in place of someone who likely cheated throughout their career. I wasn’t able to watch Barry Bonds during his career, but in watching his highlights, I observed that he was significantly better in the 2001-02 season than any previous season. As a 36-year-old, hitting the ball over 380 feet 73 times is very impressive… likely too impressive to be legit. 

Although Judge hasn’t used performance enhancing drugs or any substances to improve his game during his career thus far, he has been set up for success because of the team he plays for. Judge has played around 80 home games in Yankee Stadium this season. Playing almost half of your games in Yankee Stadium is known to be an advantage due to its dimensions. The distances from home plate to the each third of the field respectively are: 318 feet to left field, 408 feet to center field, and 314 feet to the right field foul pole. In comparison, the stadium league average in left field is 331.5 feet, 403.5 feet in center, and 330 feet in right field. 

Yankee fans might respond to this claim with the dimensions of Fenway Park, but they likely don’t realize that Fenway Park is 110 years old. In 1912, when Fenway Park was built, not many players, if any, could hit a ball 300 feet. Left field in Fenway Park has a unique 37 foot and two inch wall that a hitter must clear for a home run.

Yankee Stadium was rebuilt in April of 2009 after Bonds had hit 73 home runs in a single season. However, these dimensions only differed by 10-15 feet in comparison to the ballpark built in 1912. 

Even though the margin for error is dependent on which stadium you play in, Aaron Judge hit 32 of his 62 home runs outside of Yankee Stadium this season. Therefore, I think that he is the rightful home run king.

At the conclusion of this historic season, Judge is going to be a free agent because he hasn’t yet been able to reach an agreement with his current franchise. Assuming he does not resign with the Yankees, the league will finally be able to see if it truly was just the stadium or his pure skill.