Aaron Judge’s Yankee heroics put him on par with Mickey Mantle

Aaron Judge’s Yankee heroics put him on par with Mickey Mantle

  • new york yankees star Aaron Judge is having a monster—and possibly historic—season. I have added to it on Thursday night.

The right-handed slugger hit his league-leading 39th homer of the season to score the only run of the game and walk it off in a 1-0 win over the Royals, helping New York bounce back from a sweep earlier in the week at the hands of the Mets.

As Judge makes a push to potentially tie or break Roger Maris’s record for most homers in a season by a Yankee (61), his home run on Thursday helped him tie another legend for a different record. It was Judge’s third walk-off home run of the year, tying him with Mickey Mantle for the most by a Yankee in a single season.

Yankees’ Aaron Judge belts a walk-off homer vs. royals

Yankees' Aaron Judge belts a walk-off homer vs.  royals

Aaron Judge sealed a 1-0 New York Yankees victory, thanks to a walk off homer in the bottom of the ninth inning. It was his 39th home run of the season.

Judge’s heroics on Thursday came during a rare tough stretch for him this season. On Wednesday, he went 0-for-5 against the Mets as the Yankees lost 3-2 on a walk-off. Prior to his game-winning homer, Judge was 0-for-2 with two strikeouts. He acknowledged Thursday’s game was tough following the two-game sweep to the Mets. But as he has many times this season, Judge found a way to pull through.

“Especially in that situation, I was [0-for-2] with two [strikeouts]. What’s the worst that’s going to happen?” Judge said when talking to reporters about his homer off Royals closer Scott Barlow. “I just go up there, try to do the job. Get something over the plate and make something happen for the guys behind me. Luckily it happened with the first pitch and we were able to get it done.”

Surprisingly, prior to this season, Judge had never hit a walk-off home run in his seven-year career. That’s obviously changed, and he now looks like one of the game’s top clutch hitters. Only three players (Jimmie Foxx, Roy Sievers, and Andre Ethier) have hit more than three walk-off homers in a season, with each of those players hitting four. In addition to his three walk-off homers, Judge also hit a walk-off single against the Astros in June, giving him four walk-off hits this season.

Dating back to 1975, only four players have hit more than four walk-off hits in a single season. Andre Ethier has the most, notching six walk-off hits with the Dodgers in 2009.

Because he didn’t hit a walk-off homer until this season, Judge still has a way to go in career walk-off homers if he wants to broach another record. Jim Thome has the most with 13, while six others (Foxx, Mantle, Musial, Babe Ruth, Frank Robinson and Albert Pujols) are tied for second with 12.

Andrew Benintendi, who played his first game with the Yankees on Thursday after getting traded from the Royals on Wednesday, believes Judge dictated the script on how the game ended.

“Seeing it from the other side, it’s incredible what he’s doing,” Benintendi said. “Then to be a part of it tonight, it’s almost like it was drawn up exactly how he wants it.”

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