It doesn't happen. Baseball has never had a chase for its most sacred single-season record. The Major Leagues haven't had for a non-playoff game since 2001, when Sammy Sosa hit 73 home runs and Barry Bonds 73. The Judge is going to the series at the Cards.
The man hit 59 home runs last year. It wasn't a needle. He was a football player for Miami. When is the last time the Marlins did something really unique and interesting? Are you holding a fire sale after winning the World Series? An amazing August (18 home runs) got Stanton in the conversation with Roger Maris in 1961. He was never part of the performance-enhanced atmosphere like Judge has been.
Judge has hit at least one home-run in six of the last seven weeks. He is projected to finish the season at 66 home runs, tying for third all-time with Sosa. How do you reach that number? Judge has missed only four of the 106 games he has been a part of. There are likely to be a pair of Judge sit-outs in the final 56 games of the season. Judge has 54 games left to be added to his total.
The top six home-run seasons of all time happened between 1998 and 2001. There are similarities between Bonds, McGwire, and Sosa, they were all juicing. The Yankees record is the same as the No. 7 season. Roger Maris set the American League record for longballs in 1961. That is doable for Judge. How would Judge's home runs be remembered in baseball?
I think it would be a divisive issue. Unless Judge hits 31 more home runs this season to best Bonds, his clean record when it comes to performance enhancers will be put on the table for continued discussion. It won't be different from whether steroid users should be in the Hall of Fame. The chance to be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame through the veterans committee is still available to McGwire, Bonds, and others who timed out on the ballots before.
I don't think Judge is taking banned substances. It won't come out that the Yankees' best player is getting an unfair advantage. Steroids came to baseball at the turn of the century. In New York, where the spotlight couldn't be bigger, Judge wouldn't be smart to go down the lane that got so many greats in trouble over the last two decades.
99 is chasing individual glory beyond appetizing. He lives in the Bronx. The Yankees are one of the most hated teams in sports in North America. The Astros on-field cheating and off-diamond treatment of women isn't as bad as Steinbrenner's. The best and most popular athlete in the country is trying to have one of the best power-hitting seasons in the history of the game.
The Yankees are the only team in baseball with a history like that. Hopefully, Judge's greatness gets recognized as the overall New York record, and therefore he'll be atop all of MLB minus the juicers, not separated by an old- or-new modifier to denote the difference in stadiums or how far the game has grown.
Every at-bat will be more important as Judge gets deeper into the season. There will be live look-ins every time the Yankees play. Since baseball's steroid crackdown, nothing like Judge's chase, with 60-plus home runs easily in the ballpark of possibilities, has taken place. Put your hands together.