New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge hit his 61st home run of the season Wednesday night in Toronto, tying the American League record for most home runs in a single-season set by Roger Maris in 1961.
Judges march to the record has been reaping steady rewards for the team. Fans have been tracking his pursuit for months, helping to propel the Yankees to third place in Major League Baseball attendance per game this year, up from eighth place in 2021, according to
Ratings for the YES Network, a regional sports channel owned by a consortium that includes the team, Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., are up this year, thanks in part to Judges banner year and the teams division-winning record heading into the playoffs. The network said viewership is up 26% this season and is on pace to be the highest in 11 years.
On Wednesday, the network said the prior nights match-up against the Toronto Blue Jays was its most-watched telecast since Derek Jeters final home game in 2014.
Judge is also in contention for the MLBs elusive
Triple Crown — which means leading the league in homers, batting average and runs batted in.
His success could help him negotiate a lucrative new contract when he becomes a free agent after this season. He
reportedly turned down a seven-year, $213.5 million extension from the Yankees earlier this year.
The Yankees have seven games left in the regular season, so Judge is likely to set a new American League record. The overall record for home runs in a single season is 73, set in 2001 by Barry Bonds, a mark considered controversial because Bonds allegedly juiced his performance with steroids.
With assistance by Tim Smith