It was just after 10:30 a.m. at the new Yankee Stadium, on the Aaron Judge side of 161st Street, when the umpire hit No. 60 to the left of a Pirates player named Will Crowe and the stadium, the capital of baseball history. , now saw more. And at this moment, nearly 100 years after Babe Ruth hit 60 for the first time with a Yankee, as Judge prepares to take a hit against Roger Morris’ Yankee record mark of 61, somehow it has always happened in the last 100 years that a Yankee has looked and felt like the greatest baseball team in the world. All because of the man with the greatest number the Yankees have ever had, #99.

Since mid-July, Judge has been going through this extreme stretch, this two-month stretch, where it sometimes seemed like he was hitting a home run every day, and sometimes more than that, when it seemed like nobody could pull him out, and sometimes it seemed like he was all that the Yankees had.

It was a stretch of baseball where Judge looked as dominant and dangerous as any hitter the Yankees have ever had. He was Ruth, and he was Mickey Mantle in his MVP Triple Crown in 1956. He was Roger Maris in ’61 when he was the one to catch and pass the Kid, even if he didn’t do it as quickly as Aaron Judge did in a season full of magic and thunder.

It would have been a memorable night at the stadium even if the Yankees had lost to the Pirates because of No. 60. But the Yankees weren’t going to lose to the Pirates. This is not how history was going to be written that night. Because after Judge’s home run put the Yankees up 8-5, the Yankees seemed to load the bases an instant after that, loaded the bases with nobody out. Then Giancarlo Stanton, who was one home run short of 60 in 2017 with the Marlins in New York, hit a walk-off grand slam to win the game 9-8 for the Yankees. Another big guy does it. Performing his own dramatic swing.

Those two big men, 6-6 and 6-7. Big swing from them. Big night. The best of the entire season. One of those Yankee Stadium moments that seemed written in the stars. It all started when their biggest star in every way, Aaron Judge, hit #60 over the left field wall.

The Yankees really felt as Yankee-like in that bottom of the 9th as they have in a long time, and that includes everything they did in compiling a 64-28 record entering the All-Star break, and looking all the world as if they really were halfway to the Canyon of Heroes. Great things can still happen in this place, as they always have, on both sides of 161st Street.

There are now three Yankees in history who have turned 60: first it was Ruth in 1927, when the ’27 Yankees’ salute became part of baseball’s permanent language when baseball greatness was measured that way. They were a frame of reference. You said someone played or acted like a Yankee on the 27th. Then came Roger Maris, who turned 61 in ’61. Now, 61 years later, along comes Aaron Judge. He’s turning 60, and there’s no telling how much he can score between now and the final day of the regular season.

“He’s 60,” Paul O’Neill, the Yankees’ old star, said on TV. “I never thought I’d see it.”

The same year that Stanton hit 59 for the Marlins, Judge set the all-time rookie home run record with 52 for the Yankees before Pete Alonso hit one more for the Mets. There were too many injury-shortened seasons after that and you wondered if 52 was the most he’d ever hit. It’s just now Judge’s home run season, hitting 20 more than his closest competition in baseball, because Kyle Schwarber hit the Phillies’ 40th last night. It’s kind of a season. And the umpire saw him for 40, and gave him another 20. No. 60 last night in the bottom of the ninth, at the end of the summer at Yankee Stadium.

This is the season when the giant ball player took his place with giants like Ruth and Maris and of course Mick who hit 50+ points twice in his career, once in that Triple Crown year in 1956, then in 1961 when he turned 54, and then watched Maurice keep going.

“It was just a solo shot in the ninth at the time,” Judge would later say of his historic home run.

“You would never imagine being mentioned as a kid by (Ruth, Maris and Mantle),” he said in the interview room.

“I don’t think about numbers,” he said again.

Everyone else has. He was a Yankee chasing Ruth and Maurice, chasing history in Yankee Stadium, where baseball’s best history was being made in more than 100 years since Ruth hit New York. Judge hit home runs like that in the place where Ruth once invented home runs in baseball. Aaron Judge didn’t just turn 60 last night, he made it to the Little One. Oh baby. Ah, what a night.


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