New York Yankees superstar Aaron Judge has officially reached rarified air yet again. Judge hit his 51st homer on Tuesday, and currently is on pace to hit 63 homers. But before we start predicting 60+, let’s admire just how impressive getting to 50 is, especially when its Black players achieving the feat.
The way we talk about steroids in baseball, you would think the record books are littered with 50 home run seasons, however that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Throughout the history of baseball there have only been 47 seasons where a player has recorded 50 homers, and 14 of those seasons belong to 11 Black players.
Some of the greatest Black ballplayers of All-Time have joined the club, and there’s even a father/son duo who grace this list. Let’s take a look at how MLBbros across generations have made their mark on this list.
Like Father, Like Son
As I mentioned before, there is one father/son duo on the list and they happen to be MLBbros. OG Cecil Fielder did it first in 1990 as a member of the Detroit Tigers, then his son Prince was able to accomplish the feat in 2007 while playing for the Milwaukee Brewers. The younger Fielder had more hits than his dad (165 to 159) but the OG put up more home runs and RBI during his 50-home run season than his offspring.
Barry Bonds – 73 home runs in 2001
We can’t talk about home runs without mentioning the god Barry Bonds. A Hall of Famer long before allegations of steroid use clouded his career, Barry was on a different level in 2001. He finished the year slashing .328/.515/.863 and basically broke every metric we have to track just how great a hitter is. It was the first of 4 straight MVP awards for Bonds, and the first of four straight years of 145 walks or more.
Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge go 50/50
In 2017, both Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton and Yankees rookie Aaron Judge both eclipsed the 50-homer mark. The Yankees may not have been able to bring another World Series title to New York, but they did bring Stanton to the Bronx and teamed him up with Judge the next season. Giancarlo finished with 59 bombs on the year. Judge would finish the year with 52 homers, which tied him for 15th all time with Yankees greats Mickey Mantle and Alex Rodriguez (he hit 52 with Texas).
Ken Griffey Jr – 56 home runs in 1997/1998
One of the greatest to ever lace them up, prime Ken Griffey Jr was must-see TV. He’s one of just three MLBbros in history to have multiple 50-homer seasons along with Willie Mays and Aaron Judge.
While a large portion of the baseball world was locked in on players like Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa’s PED-induced exploits back in the late 90s, Junior was in the midst of one of the greatest runs we’ve ever seen. Griffey’s 50-homer seasons came in back-to-back years and “The Kid” went on to finish his career with 630 total homers.