Aaron Judge came within mere feet of history in the Yankees’ 5-4, 10-inning victory over the Red Sox on Thursday night at the Stadium.
With the score knotted at four in the bottom of the ninth, Judge had a chance at a record-tying 61st home run and an MLB-leading fifth walk-off hit on the season.
With fans chanting “MVP!” throughout Yankee Stadium, Judge faced Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes and found his pitch on a 2-2, 95.8 MPH four-seam fastball.
At the crack of the bat, fans rose out of their seats, cameras flashed and everyone prepared for a historic moment.
It was high. It was far. Only, it wasn’t to be.
“Aaron Judge… center field… way back… Kiké Hernandez is there,” Fox play-by-play man Adam Amin called on the national broadcast.
At 404 feet, Judge’s drive would have been a home run in 13 MLB ballparks. At 113 MPH off the bat with a 35-degree launch angle, it was the hardest hit ball of the night.
“He made the catch right at the Monument Park wall,” WFAN’s John Sterling said on the air.
According to MLB Metrics, 19 players have hit a ball at least 113 MPH with a launch angle between 33 and 37 degrees. Judge’s was the first to not leave the field.
Among those enrapt by the moment were family members of Roger Maris, the Yankees and American League single-season home run holder. They watched closely as Hernandez gloved Judge’s attempt.
Everything to know about Aaron Judge and his chase for the home run record:
The Yankees walked-off in the bottom of the 10th — clinching a playoff spot with the win — though Judge, who finished the night 0-for-2 with three walks and a strikeout, continues in his quest for 61.
Judge will get his next chance on Friday against Rich Hill and the Red Sox in a game set to controversially air on Apple TV.