Dusty firmly believes Bonds, Judge HR records not up for debate originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
In the eyes of Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker, there is no debate regarding who MLB's single-season home run king is.
As New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge began approaching Roger Maris for the American League's single-season home run record, a decades-old debate regarding the validity of home run records set by Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa during baseball's "Steroid Era" resurfaced in wake of Judge's pursuit. After Judge hit home run No. 62, surpassing Maris on Tuesday night against the Texas Rangers, the debate only intensified.
Baker, who managed Bonds for 10 seasons with the Giants from 1993-2002 and witnessed the slugger's historic record-breaking 73-home run season in 2001, believes there is no debate regarding who the true single-season home run king is.
“What I saw Barry (Bonds) do, I don’t care what people say,” Baker told reporters on Wednesday. “I was with him every day. They want to put an asterisk by it, but them 73 that went over the fence didn’t have an asterisk by them when they went over that fence with regularity.” (h/t Texas Sports Nation's Chandler Rome)
Even Judge himself, a northern California native who grew up watching Bonds, still recognizes 73 as the single-season record to beat. In Baker's eyes, regardless of who you believe the true record holder to be, there only are a few players in MLB history capable of competing for the crown.
“Judge followed Barry as a kid because we’re all from the same area,” Baker added. “People can say whatever they want to say. Some people think it’s Hank Aaron, some people think it’s Barry, some people think it’s Judge. There ain’t but about two or three of them that it could (be)."
After having an up-close view of one of the greatest individual seasons in the history of professional sports, it should come as no surprise where Baker stands.
At the end of the day, Bonds holds the record for home runs in a single season and there's a good chance it stays that way for a long time, if not forever.