Jarrod E. Stephens
The Ashland Beacon
There’s just something about records that draw human attention, like flies to a carcass. When I say records, I’m not referring to those old vinyl records that used to be so common before the age of digital music. Instead, I’m talking about records of human achievement. Some records we love to see broken but other records seem somewhat protected or revered.
This Major League Baseball season has been a major league letdown for this year’s Cincinnati Reds baseball team and its weary followers. Only a few weeks into the 2022 season, I started looking for other reasons to pay attention to baseball; because I had seen some very concerning mishaps on the diamond that even our local high school players would get scolded for.
While I have always been a baseball fan, I can honestly say that I’ve never rooted for the New York Yankees, ever. When the All-Star break came around in July and the Reds were clearly out of playoff contention, there was a lot of chatter about the Yankees’ outfielder Aaron Judge and that he was on pace to perhaps surpass the American League 61 homerun mark set by Roger Maris in 1961. Those 61 home runs were the most recorded for a single season in Major League Baseball, until the very debatable records of Mark McGuire and Barry Bonds. Both players seemingly had bulked up to superhero proportions which makes their records a bit shady to some, me included.
The reason that Roger Maris’ 61 homerun mark is so notable, is that he broke Babe Ruth’s 1927 record of 60 home runs in one season. I mean seriously, who hasn’t heard of Babe Ruth and his baseball accomplishments? When I was a youngster, I ironically received a paper/vinyl record of Roger Maris’ homerun. The sound quality was terrible, but I remember listening to the recording of the record over and over, just imagining how it must have felt to surpass any mark that Babe Ruth had set.
On Wednesday, September 28, 2022, the mark of 61 home runs in a single season that was set by Maris was tied by the six feet seven-inch giant, Aaron Judge. While the homerun wasn’t a towering blast into the upper deck, there was enough raw power behind the hit to send it into the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen. Some sources have suggested that if a fan would have caught the ball that it could have been worth up to two million dollars. The ball was missed by an outstretched and later outraged fan and bounced into the hands of a Blue Jays coach. That's one for the record books and museum.
While again, he’s not the only player to surpass the 61 homerun mark, he is the only one to do it this season and he has captured a lot of attention because of it. To set the record straight, Judge is the fifth player to hit 61 or more home runs following Barry Bonds (73), Mark McGuire (70), Sammy Sosa (66), and Roger Maris (61). It’s a record worth noting because he’s the only American League player to hit 61. A site called Homerun Digest has calculated that this one player, Aaron Judge with his 61 home runs has hit the home runs a total of 4.8 miles. That’s a lot of airtime. The judge had been a rising star since his 2017 rookie season when he won the American League Rookie of the Year.
Yes, friends, it’s true, records are made to be broken. While my records are not nearly as awesome or cool as hitting the most home runs in a season, they are still records and I’ll keep them safely recorded in my heart and mind. Rest assured that none of my record-breaking memorabilia will be worth two million dollars, but I’m going to continue to strive for greatness (not really) and keep my fingers crossed that the Reds can give me something to look forward to next year (really).