In big time professional sports, few things are more epic than individual record chase. And when it involves scoring, even more so because, as the saying goes: offense sells tickets. And we’re blessed to see not just one, but two of these individual milestones being pursued at the same time. We have super slugger Aaron Judge, of the New York Yankees in Major League Baseball on the cusp of history right now.
Manchester City striker supreme Erling Haaland, “The Nordic Meat Shield” is on pace to rewrite the English Premier League record book, as he’s bagging braces and accomplishing hat tricks like it’s going out of style. Let’s enjoy the show, on both fronts.
Current Pace: In Premier League action, he has 10 goals through his first six games, or 1.67 goals per game. That would give him 63.3 for the 38 game season.
Record Chasing: Most goals in a Premier League season (42 games): 34
Other Records Potentially in Frame:
all time record for scoring (63 goals) in the English top flight (Dixie Dean, Everton, 1927-28), European big five leagues individual season scoring record, 73, by Lionel Messi 2011-12
Right now, Erling Haaland is like a video game “cheat code.” We predicted his teaming up with Pep Guardiola would be titanic, and it’s been all that and more thus far.
Current Pace: 55 HRs so far, on pace to finish with 64
Record Chasing: Roger Maris’ historic 61 in ’61. This is the Yankees club and American League record.
Other Records Potentially in Frame: Sammy Sosa (66) and Mark McGwire (70) both surpassed Maris in 1998, but then both of them got eclipsed by Barry Bonds (73) in 2001. However, all three of those season outputs have asterisks.
All were using performance enhancing drugs that gave them an unfair advantage, so those records aren’t truly legit. Maris holds the pre-Steroid Era home run record, thus it’s the real record.
Debate it all you want, but it is what is it is, and Cooperstown implicitly seems to agree with my position.
However, even Maris himself had an asterisk too, as he played in a 162 game season, while the man whose record he broke, Babe Ruth, hit 60 home runs during a 154 game season in 1927. It all makes for every Aaron Judge at bat to be must see television.
#AllRise for The Judge indeed. Both of this elite, top tier athletes are doing something right now that provides even neutrals (fans of other teams, or just the sport itself), not just the fans of their teams, can root for.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Bank (TheSportsBank.Net) and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He has regularly appeared in WGN, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune, and he co-hosts the After Extra Time podcast, part of Edge of the Crowd Network. Follow him and the website on Twitter and Instagram.