Last Wednesday, New York Yankees superstar Aaron Judge blasted his 55th home run of the 2022 campaign – the all-time single-season record (and counting) by a right-handed batter in franchise history. Interestingly, there have been relatively few instances of Yankee right-handed home run power approaching this magnitude. As we know, storied sluggers, including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Roger Maris, and Reggie Jackson, were all left-handed hitters.
With that in mind, I looked through the annals of Yankees’ history to reveal the top five single-season home run performances from the right side of the plate.
Note: All apologies to Mickey Mantle fans but “The Mick’s” switch-hitting skills disqualify him from my list of righty-round-trippers.
With Wednesday’s long ball, Aaron Judge joined Sammy Sosa (58) and Barry Bonds (57) as the only players in MLB history to hit 55 or more home runs through their team’s first 136 games. That is some elite company. Not only is Judge the Yankees’ right-handed power king, but he is also on pace to break Roger Maris’s franchise single-season home run record of 61. A remarkable year for the likely AL MVP.2) Alex Rodriguez – 54 (2007)
Alex Rodriguez enjoyed perhaps the finest season of his MLB career in 2007, tallying a Major League-leading 54 home runs and 156 RBI en route to his third and final MVP award. Fans knew A-Rod was in for another special campaign, with 14 of his 54 big flies coming in the season’s first month. He hit double-digit homers again in September, putting an exclamation point on the second-greatest power season by a right-handed batter in Yankees history.3) Aaron Judge – 52 (2017)
Who could forget Judge’s historic rookie campaign? Bursting onto the scene in 2017, the slugger’s 52 home runs broke Mark McGwire’s all-time rookie record of 49. Judge’s performance unsurprisingly saw him earn AL Rookie of the Year honors while finishing runner-up in AL MVP voting. But perhaps the most impressive part of Judge’s season was how he finished. After hitting just three homers all of August, the California native exploded in September, going deep 15 times to reach the 50+ milestone.4) Alex Rodriguez – 48 (2005)
A-Rod captured the first of two MVPs during his Yankees tenure in 2005, largely thanks to an AL-leading 48 home runs. It was the first time a Bronx Bomber paced the AL in long balls since Reggie Jackson (41) in 1980.5) Joe DiMaggio – 46 (1937)
A true Yankees legend, DiMaggio hit a career-high and MLB-leading 46 home runs in 1937, finishing second in AL MVP voting. It was Joltin Joe’s lone 40+ homer campaign of his Hall of Fame career.