Column: Judge-Stanton duo a treat for fans

Every great home run duo has a nickname. Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris were the M&M Boys. Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco were the Bash Brothers.

So what do we call Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, the newly-formed pinstriped pair of prodigiously powerful players? The Hulks of Home Run? The Monster Mashers? The Bronx Behemoths?

Whatever their collective name becomes, the New York Yankees will be an awful lot of fun to watch because of them, now that the trade to acquire Stanton from the Miami Marlins is offical.

Tracking Judge’s home run total, which topped out at a rookie-record 52, was an unexpected treat for fans last season. He had to battle in spring training just to lock up the starting right field gig. By November, the Yanks came within one victory of going to the World Series and Judge was the AL MVP runnerup.

Meanwhile, in Miami, Stanton was on his way to claiming the NL MVP for a mediocre Marlins club. Although just 2 1⁄2 years older than Judge, Stanton entered the season with 208 career homers and had been league MVP runnerup at 24. But 2017 was exceptional for the right fielder, who launched 33 homers after the All-Star break to finish with 59.

The only players with more home runs in a season since Maris’ 61 in 1961 — Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds — all suffer from the cloud of performance-enhancing drugs. In an era of increased testing and scrutiny, the 6-foot-7 Judge and 6-foot-6 Stanton are perceived as clean. And freakishly strong.

Assuming that’s true, 2018 might see a home-run race in the Bronx the likes of which hasn’t been seen in 20 years. Back in the summer of 1998, McGwire and Sosa dazzled fans as they raced to be the first to surpass Maris’ total. Whenever Big Mac’s St. Louis Cardinals or Sosa’s Chicago Cubs came to town, fans with flashbulbs were sure to follow.

With the two best power hitters in the game, the Yankees have the potential to become a traveling showcase. Fortunately for New Yorkers, they won’t have to go far for their own electrifying Core of Clout.


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