Roger Maris’ children aren’t sure exactly what to feel.
With Aaron Judge at 60 home runs on the season — tying what was once Babe Ruth’s record, and one shy of Maris’ American League, and untainted by steroids, single-season record — the Maris children were at Yankee Stadium on Thursday night to take in the team’s 5-4 win over the Red Sox in 10 innings.
And what has seemed inevitable recently, Judge tying their father’s 61-year-old record.
“It’s mixed emotions,” Maris’ son, Roger Jr., said on Fox’s broadcast before the game. “We want to see Aaron do really, really well. We want to see him have a big night tonight hopefully, and a big night the rest of the week and finish out the year strong.
“Once again, we like the record, we’re proud of the record, but I think it’s kind of inevitable, he’s probably going to break it at this point the way he’s hitting the ball, the way he’s hitting the ball the last couple of weeks. We’re not expecting the record at the end of the year, but kudos to Aaron for the year he’s having and I wish him the best of luck for sure.”
Maris, who died in 1985, strikes a few similarities to Judge in their public temperament.
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And if he got to watch Judge, he would have shared the same sentiment overtaking New York at the moment.
“He’d have loved Judge,” Roger Jr. said. “I don’t know how much you know about dad, but if you look at them two and you go back over the careers of dad, and you go to the career of Judge, and their demeanor, and the way they handled the press and the way they do different things. They’re just low-key guys. Team-first guys, all about winning, all about doing the right thing. Coming to the game well-prepared, trying to win games and trying to win a championship. I think he’d have loved watching Aaron doing what he’s doing.”
One of Maris’ other sons, Kevin, was asked how they wanted their father to be remembered, once he no longer holds the AL record for homers in a season.
“The nice thing about it is, he’ll be remembered being tied to Judge, and Babe Ruth,” Kevin said. “And those are two of the greatest ballplayers to play.”