Which Boston Red Sox Player Came Close to Breaking Roger Maris’ Home Run Record?
A difficult year got even tougher for Red Sox fans.
In a season that’s seen the departures of everyone from beloved players to announcers, the hated New York Yankees made news Wednesday evening when slugger Aaron Judge tied Roger Maris’ single-season record for home runs, with 61 on the books and a month left in the season.
While Maris’ single-season record has since been “broken” by multiple players, 61 is considered the benchmark, thanks to admissions from or rumors of other players being on…some special medicine when they went deep.
But it got me thinking: how many Red Sox players have come within striking distance of 61 home runs in a season?
The first I remembered clearly – David Ortiz, who launched 54 home runs in 2006.
Sadly, the season was marred by the unhappiness of Manny Ramirez, who batted behind Ortiz and whose inconsistency allowed teams to pitch around Big Papi. In a Happy Manny universe where everyone is engaged and the team going full-tilt into the postseason, it’s likely Ortiz hits a few more. So, we’re left to wonder “what if?”
Ortiz topped a record that stood for a long time, and I mean a LONG time.
Fellow Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx hit 50 home runs for the Red Sox in 1938, according to the website MLBDailyDingers.com (“Daily Dingers” also sounds like a weird "Jeopardy" category or a bad car parking service, but I digress).
Ortiz makes the list again with the 47 he hit out in 2005, another season in which mercurial Manny seemed to fade in and out, culminating in his memorable midgame trip to see a man about a Monster.
So, the old-time myth that said Monster is a lock for longballs doesn’t appear true, as just two Red Sox players crossed the 50-homer threshold in the history of the franchise.
However, the Red Sox could stun the world and put the Monster theory to the test this offseason, when one Aaron Judge is an unrestricted free agent.