New York Yankees star Aaron Judge hit his 62nd home run on Tuesday night against the Texas Rangers, giving him the American League record for dingers in a season. The feat is highly impressive as he surpassed Yankees legend Roger Maris’s 61 home runs, a record that has stood for—coincidentally—61 years.
As a fan of both baseball and running, I couldn’t help but wonder how much running Judge had to do across those 62 home run trots for a season. Home run trots in baseball look like leisurely jaunts as a player basks in his glory, touching each base around the 360 foot baseball diamond before taking that last step at home plate.
But when I decided to crunch the numbers one evening as Judge approached the record, I discovered the average home run trot is anything but leisurely. In fact, it kind of puts the average runner to shame. Here’s how I went about figuring out how fast and how far Judge rounded the bases this season… with a few caveats that should be noted.
Caveat 1: I realize no baseball player runs an exact straight line when doing a home run trot. They take a rounded arc around each base (it would be more start/stop if you ran exactly straight, thus slower). So if anything, the numbers below are slightly underestimating because the runner isn’t running a perfect tangent for 360 feet.
Caveat 2: I’m obviously not factoring in fatigue. While these are professional athletes, I do imagine after a few laps a majority of ballplayers would slow down a bit. But let’s go with an average.
To obtain a type of average, I timed Judge’s last three home run trots—No. 60 (~24 seconds), No. 61 (~23 seconds), and the historic No. 62 (~25 seconds … hey, it was the record home run). That put him around 24 seconds per home run trot.
Now let’s do a little back of the napkin math with that average to estimate how long it took him round the bases 62 times:
- 24 seconds around the bases per HR x 62 HR trots = 1,488 seconds
- 1,488 seconds / 60 seconds (in 1 minute) = 24 minutes and 48 seconds
Now you have to know the distance of 62 home run trots:
- 360 feet (around the bases) x 62 = 22,320 feet
- 22,320 feet / 5,280 feet (in a mile) = 4.23 miles
So, Judge ran more than 4 miles (4.28) across 62 home run trots this season in 24:48. If you plug that into a pace calculator, that’s a jaw-dropping 5 minutes and 51 seconds per mile.
I personally could not believe this statistic when I first looked at it. I shared it with colleagues on staff and friends who know running and baseball. All agreed that this seemed absurd, but the numbers check out. It’s even crazier when you consider the average mile pace is a bit slower than the average home run trot. Here’s what we’ve written about average running pace on Runner’s World previously:
Based on more real-life data from more than 300 million runs uploaded to workout app Strava in 2018, the average running speed across the globe is 9 minutes and 48 seconds (9:48). That number adjusts based on gender—9:15 for men; 10:40 for women—and in the U.S. with 9:44 overall (9:07 for men and 10:21 for women).
So baffled by this number, I went down a wormhole of baseball data to explore more things. According to a study done by Baseball Prospectus of 4,500 home run trots, the average speed for rounding the bases was faster at 22.02 seconds—about 2 seconds faster than Judge’s average we used! (If you’re wondering what the slowest home run trot looks like, the study noted that Red Sox slugger David “Big Papi” Ortiz was clocked at 30.59 seconds around the bases.)
Then I started looking at some advanced analytics on running speed in baseball, specifically “sprint speed.” This is baseball’s Statcast metric for when a player has to run hard on a batted ball that has them go two bases or more (not counting home runs) and how fast they run from home to first on weakly hit balls in play. The metric is given in “feet per second” over a player’s fastest one second window.
Judge is by far not the leader in the dugout when it comes to sprint speed—that honor this season goes to Corbin Carroll of the Arizona Diamondbacks with a sprint speed of 30.7 feet per second. Sitting in the middle of the pack is Judge at 27.3 feet per second (not totally shocking because he’s 6-foot-7 and weighs 280 pounds). That means if Judge ran at his absolute hardest on each home run trot this season, he’d round the bases a little more than 13 seconds total—or just under a 14-minute 4.23 mile run.
All of this has me hoping that if not during his playing career, then at least after he retires the 30-year-old Judge will take the starting line of one of the more popular New York Road Runners events. The New York City Marathon? The Bronx 10-Miler? Perhaps the NYRR Midnight Run (4 Miler) on New Year’s Eve sounds ideal.
Congrats to Aaron Judge for No. 62. I’ll be over here figuring out who would win a marathon relay between the Milwaukee Brewers hot dogs, the Pittsburgh Pirates pierogies, and the Washington Nationals presidents.
Brian has spent the last 10 years focused on creating compelling news, health, and fitness content—with a particular interest on enthusiast activities like running and cycling. He’s coordinated coverage of major events like the Boston Marathon, New York City Marathon, and Tour de France, with an eye toward both the professional race and the engaging stories readers love.