Even though Yankees star Aaron Judge’s home run chase should’ve been the purest and most obvious source of joy (home runs = fun, lots of home runs = more fun), that didn’t stop non-Yankee fans from picking nits, college football fans from hooting and hollering, and crotchety old sportswriters from taking advantage of another chance to erase an era that they, themselves, helped mythologize.
There’s no point in arguing with people who dislike the Yankees about what the “real home run record” is, nor is there a purpose in re-litigating history when 61 remains a very special number to the game of baseball, even though it’s not the official mark that tops the record books.
Don’t take Roger Maris Jr.’s word for it, though (seriously, you do not have to take his word for it), because a Yankees legend straight out of Monument Park who’s strayed in recent years is joining Judge’s battalion.
Reggie Jackson, once the Straw That Stirs the Drink in New York and currently the Straw That Advocates for Jose Altuve in Houston, apparently hasn’t written his old team off — or he’s been inspired by Judge’s special season to put the pinstripes back on.
Jackson tweeted a message to Judge after No. 99 passed Maris, calling him the “best player in baseball” (over Ohtani?!), as well as the “real home run leader.” Reggie’s words, not ours!
Reggie Jackson thinks Yankees’ Aaron Judge is “real home run leader”
Whether you agree with Jackson or not on the “real home run leader” stuff (we don’t!), you have got to admit he certainly wasn’t biased against the Yankees here. He’s come a long way from joining Houston’s front office and taunting the Yanks on Altuve Jersey Day.
It’s still unclear where the rift came from between Jackson and the modern-day Yankees, but it clearly doesn’t extend to a feud with Judge. The Hall of Famer might’ve given Judge the most all-in endorsement we’ve seen from outside the organization; in other words, he’s the anti-Marcus Stroman.
Jackson was a bit nomadic during his career, defecting from the Orioles to the Yankees in free agency after being shipped away from the A’s, then leaving the Bronx in the dust to sign with the California Angels.
Hopefully, for all of us, Judge’s path stays a bit more linear and he remains in New York — and maybe he becomes the new Mr. October this fall, starring in right field once again? Doesn’t feel like too much to ask, especially since Jackson gave him a pat on the head this week.