Cubs: Sammy Sosa’s home run history Aaron Judge is yet to overshadow

(JOHN ZICH/AFP via Getty Images)
(JOHN ZICH/AFP via Getty Images) /

The fanfare surrounding Aaron Judge hitting his 60th home run on Tuesday night (followed by Giancarlo Stanton’s walk-off grand slam) was, rightfully, at levels we haven’t seen in the sport in some time.

The Yankees outfielder became just the sixth player in MLB history to hit 60 or more home runs in a season, joining the likes of Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Roger Maris, Babe Ruth and blacklisted former Chicago Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa. While all of these sluggers turned in remarkable performances in their respective seasons, Sosa stakes a claim to an accomplishment no one else can touch: he’s the only player to ever hit 60+ home runs in three separate seasons.

Sosa eclipsed the 60-homer milestone for the first time during the 1998 home run chase, as he and Cardinals first baseman Mark McGwire traded blows all season long. On Sept. 12, at home against Milwaukee, he took Valerio de los Santos deep, tying Ruth’s 60-homer mark and sending the Wrigley faithful into a raucous.

In the season’s final weeks, the Cubs outfielder tacked on another half-dozen long-balls, bringing his total to 66 on the year. McGwire ultimately eclipsed Sosa with his 70 home runs and the two faces of the game came back in 1999 ready to duke it out once again.

Despite leading the league in strikeouts for the third consecutive campaign, Sosa belted 63 home runs in his encore performance to close out the 20th century, while McGwire once again edged him out in the end, hitting 65 en route to a fifth-place finish in NL MVP Voting.

Two years later, though, Big Mac hung up his spikes – calling it a career following the 2001 campaign. He still had plenty of power, hitting 29 long balls in 97 games, but he struggled to stay healthy and hung up his spikes with 583 career homers, which, to this day, ranks 11th all-time.

Sosa, meanwhile, still had a little something left in the tank. The Chicago superstar added another 238 home runs over the next five seasons, his final years on the North Side, including a third and final 60-homer campaign in 2001, a 64-home run showing that forever cemented his place in baseball lore.

Cubs: Sammy Sosa, regardless of the scandals, remains an iconic home run hitter

In my mind, there’s no doubt: Aaron Judge is a far better pure hitter than Sosa ever was, even in his prime. Heading into action Wednesday, he’s not only making history with his power performance, but also leads the league in all three Triple Crown categories (home runs, average, RBI).

That’s just scratching the surface of what he’s done in the Bronx, too. He leads the league in runs, home runs, RBI, walks, average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS+ and total bases – as well as bWAR. You can make the case Judge is the most complete player in the game (he’s definitely the most well-rounded offensive player, but Shohei Ohtani is doing things we’ve never seen before) – and he’s going to get paid this offseason in his first foray into free agency.

Next. Where does Sosa rank among the Cubs' all-time best?. dark

Regardless, even two decades later, Sammy Sosa’s trio of 60+ home run seasons  stands alone – and whether you love him, hate him or are simply indifferent, there’s no disputing his place him home run history.