Over the last decade, it’s seemed the best home run race we’ve gotten during the season lasted just one night during the Home Run Derby. This season has been a refreshing change as Miami Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton and New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge have been matching one another dinger for dinger nearly every night.
This kind of home run race is something we haven’t seen in some time. The once that immediately comes to mind is the steroid-fueled race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in 1998. McGwire and Sosa traded towering moon shots night after night, and it was something to behold as the home run totals rung up like my tab at a wing joint. The race, of course, was to break Roger Maris’ record of 62 home runs. McGwire ended with 70 and Sosa with 66 home runs. We’re getting to see the same type of race again.
Last night, Stanton hit his 37th homer on the season, while Judge remains at 35. Both teams have played 110 games and both are hitting homers at a pace of about one every three games. If they’re able to keep hitting home runs at this rate, both players with eclipse 50 home runs, which will be the first time that number has been reached by two players since Alex Rodriguez and Prince Fielder did so in 2007.
Judge has shown that he’ll be a power hitter for years to come. His incredible size and ability to hit baseballs all over the strike zone is uncanny. Stanton has been known for his power since entering the league in 2010, and has never hit fewer than 20 home runs in a season. However, he has never hit more than 37 in a season either, so his next shot will mark a career high. Perhaps Judge is pushing Stanton to swing for the fences more.
Neither player is chasing Barry Bonds’ single-season home run mark of 73 dingers, but the pace at which they’re hitting them is still remarkable. Keep an eye on this race because these kinds of season-long shows don’t seem to come around except once every decade. Unless, of course, this pair continues to put one on every year going forward with the addition of LA Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger.
Photo by Brigham Berthold