Jeff Passan: Aaron Judge’s home run record is real — but so is Barry Bonds’

    ESPN MLB insider
    Author of “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports”

ARLINGTON, Texas — A gorgeous moment in baseball history unfolded Tuesday night. Aaron Judge, the New York Yankees’ fearsome slugger, walloped his 62nd home run against the Texas Rangers in the first inning of his season’s penultimate game. The dugout emptied like a Little League team, everyone rushing to meet their friend at home plate, to celebrate him and his greatness, and by the time Judge arrived there, his face still frozen in a wondrous grin, the roar from 38,832 at Globe Life Field apexed.

What happened in the subsequent minutes and hours — and what will continue in the coming days, weeks, months, years — did not ruin that tableau. But the discourse over the meaning of the number, of what 62 actually represents, takes that little slice of baseball heaven and drags it through a forest of intellectual dishonesty and plants it in a graveyard of ahistorical flimflam.

There are opinions, and there are facts, and when adjudicating history, only the latter matter. So here are two incontrovertible facts.

Aaron Judge on Tuesday passed Roger Maris for the single-season home run record by an American League player, a mark that stood for 61 years.

Barry Bonds is the single-season home run record holder in Major League Baseball with 73.

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