All rise for Aaron Judge's 10 best HRs

April 26th, 2023

There's never a bad time to revisit Aaron Judge homers, but his birthday is as appropriate a moment as any. The Yankees slugger turned 31 years old on Wednesday, so while he blows out the candles let's celebrate by taking a look back at the best home runs from his career so far.

Here are the top 10:

1) Oct. 4, 2022, vs. Rangers (off Jesus Tinoco)

We must begin with Judge breaking Roger Maris’ 61-year-old American League home run record with No. 62. It was, undoubtedly, the crowning achievement of his 2022 AL MVP campaign. An unstoppable force throughout the year, Judge was on track to pass the hallowed mark with room to spare entering the final weeks. But the tension built as the games dwindled after Judge homered just once in 13 games leading into the season’s penultimate contest against the Rangers. All concerns faded and the celebration was on once Judge blasted a hanging slider into the left-field seats at Texas’ Globe Life Field.

2) Aug. 13, 2016, vs. Rays (off Matt Andriese)

While Judge’s batting stance and national profile have certainly changed since his big league debut in 2016, his prodigious power has been a constant. It was on display the first time he stepped into an MLB batter’s box as he unloaded on the fourth pitch he saw and sent it 446 feet toward Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park. Judge’s dinger was the latter half of back-to-back home runs with fellow prospect Tyler Austin, making them the first pair of teammates in AL/NL history to homer in their first Major League at-bats during the same game.

3) Sept. 30, 2017, vs. Blue Jays (off Marcus Stroman)

Judge capped his rookie season in the most apropos way possible: By hitting the farthest home run by any player that year. Watch in awe as he gets every bit of this Stroman sinker and launches it 496 feet toward territory in left-center field that few hitters can even aspire to reach at Yankee Stadium. This was the 52nd and final homer of Judge’s historic rookie campaign, which has another entry a little further down this list.

4) June 10, 2017, vs. Orioles (off Chris Tillman)

From farthest to fastest. Judge sparked a six-run first inning against the Orioles by belting a live drive to left field that flew just inside the foul pole. This tracer was clocked at 121.1 mph, which is the hardest-hit batted ball of Judge’s career and one of the highest exit velocities for a home run in the Statcast Era.

One day later, Judge continued putting his name on Statcast leaderboards with a 495-foot moonshot.

5) Sept. 25, 2017, vs. Royals (off Trevor Cahill)

Mark McGwire, who bashed 49 homers for the A's in 1987, held the AL/NL rookie home run record for 30 years before Judge came along. He finished the 2017 season with a flurry, going deep 13 times in his final 19 games. Here is the record-breaker, No. 50, which came at the end of consecutive multihomer games.

This feat would probably be a little higher on the list if not for Mets first baseman Pete Alonso, who bested Judge’s 52 with 53 homers as a rookie in 2019.

6) May 10, 2022, vs. Blue Jays (off Jordan Romano)

Judge entered the 2022 season with zero walk-off home runs. He ended the season with three – one each in May, June and July. All memorable moments in their own right, but Judge’s first walk-off dinger is the most impactful hit of his career to date, in terms of Win Probability Added. His no-doubter against one of the top closers in the sport instantly turned a would-be 5-3 defeat into a 6-5 triumph and credited him with 0.81 WPA for this plate appearance.

7) Oct. 3, 2017, vs. Twins (off José Berríos)

Judge’s first trip to the postseason looked like it would last only one night after the Twins put up three runs in the first inning of the 2017 AL Wild Card Game. But New York fought back to grab a 5-4 lead by the time Judge stepped to the plate in the bottom of the fourth inning. He then put the Yankees firmly in control with a low liner that reached the first row beyond the left-field wall. He also, once again, turned his home park into a madhouse. Following his 52-homer regular season, this was the first of four home runs for Judge during the 2017 postseason.

8) Aug. 12, 2021, vs. White Sox (off Lance Lynn and Liam Hendriks)

One of the best games of 2021 took place in Dyersville, Iowa. The scenery for the inaugural Field of Dreams Game was iconic, and the action inside the ballpark was intense as the Yankees and White Sox battled back and forth in a contest that featured 17 runs and eight long balls. Judge stood out on this unique, national showcase, driving two pitches into the surrounding cornfield.

9) July 17, 2018, vs. National League All-Stars (off Max Scherzer)

As if he didn’t accomplish enough as a rookie, Judge also won the 2017 Home Run Derby. A quartet of 500-foot blasts helped out. Rather than defend his title in ‘18 at Nationals Park, he saved his fireworks for the All-Star Game. Many were in attendance to cheer on one of their own in Scherzer, but Judge disrupted the festivities with this big fly to open the second inning. It was Judge’s first Midsummer Classic homer and the first by a Yankee since Jason Giambi in 2003.

10) May 3, 2022, vs. Blue Jays (off Alek Manoah)

Baseball is for the fans.

This crowd-silencer by Judge came at the end of an eight-pitch showdown versus the Blue Jays’ ace in Toronto and tied the score in the sixth. It was an impressive crush job, too, coming off the bat at 114.9 mph and settling into the second deck at Rogers Centre. But that’s where the real story begins. A Blue Jays fan got the ball and immediately handed it to a 9-year-old Yankees fan who was clearly overwhelmed by the kind gesture. The boy's emotions poured out as the two shared a hug.

Tears continued to flow the following day as Judge met both fans in the dugout prior to the game. He called it “a special moment.”