For now, Aaron Judge is chasing Barry Bonds.
Later – as in, this offseason – Bonds might be the one chasing Judge.
The all-time home run king is rooting for the Yankees slugger to surpass Roger Maris’ American League record of 61 homers – and even Bonds’ own major league record of 73. But next year, Bonds would love to see Judge pounding all those homers in person, rather than on TV.
“I hope he signs here,” the Giants legend told Sportico over the phone from his home north of San Francisco. “Can it happen? I don’t know. It depends on what the Yankee payroll is. But we would love to have him, I’ll tell you that.”
Bonds is a special adviser with the Giants, and he told the outlet he does not have any input on acquiring players. Still, the Giants – seen as the Yankees’ greatest competition for the outfielder – could turn to one of Judge’s childhood heroes to sweeten an offer for the impending free agent.
Judge, who was born in Linden, Calif., grew up a Giants fan and has said he considers Bonds’ 73 homers in a season as the true record. As Judge sits on 60 with 13 games to go, he likely won’t surpass his hero, but he has certainly entered his radar.
“We in the Bay Area — he’s a Bay Area boy — we hope [the Yankees] don’t sign him, and we can get him,” Bonds said. “I would. He’s that good.”
Judge’s historic offensive season might be the best since Bonds was ripping up the record books in the 2000s under the clouds of the steroid era. Maris’ 61 represents the American League and Yankees record, but debates rage whether Bonds’ 73 for a campaign and 762 for a career are the true all-time marks.
According to Bonds, the records are the ones in the record books.
“It doesn’t matter what people say,” Bonds told Sportico. “In MLB it says Barry Bonds. That’s all that matters, right? Anyone can have their own opinion, and I respect their opinion, but MLB says 762 is the record, 73 is the record. Unless MLB changed something they’re still there.”
They are still there, though Judge could make a run at 73 one of these seasons. Bonds would support it.
“The way he swings he might as well hit one a day and get past me,” Bonds said. “I don’t care. Why not?”