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We rest our case: Beyond any reasonable doubt, Judge's 2017 dominance of Orioles was Ruthian

Aaron Judge, left, and Babe Ruth. (Associated Press/ESPN photos)
Aaron Judge, left, and Babe Ruth. (Associated Press/ESPN photos)(Baltimore Sun)

Is that you down there cowering under your purchased-at-auction Memorial Stadium seat while awaiting this week's four-game series in the Bronx?

It seems you might remember New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge putting down the hammer against the Orioles last season.

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You might remember that the two hardest-hit home runs of the 2017 major league season were Judge's 121.1 mph rocket off Chris Tillman on June 10 and his 119.4 mph laser off Kevin Gausman on April 28.

You might remember that his 11 homers against the Orioles were the most by any player against the franchise since it moved here for the 1954 season.

Aaron Judge on Manny Machado: "I asked him how he liked short and said you'd look pretty good in pinstripes, too."

You might even remember Judge's other 19-game numbers against the O's: .426 batting average, .588 on-base percentage, 1.049 slugging percentage, 31 runs scored and 24 RBIs.

How historically dominant was that performance?

Mike Petriello of mlb.com was curious, so he ran the numbers on Baseball Reference's Play Index.

It turns out that among seasons in which one player had at least 85 plate appearances against a team, Judge's season was the second best ever as measured by OPS (on-base average plus slugging percentage).

The Orioles were saved from ignominy only by the famous Baltimorean who grew up in a rowhouse a long fly ball from Camden Yards. In 1921, Babe Ruth had an OPS of 1.720 against the Cleveland Indians. Judge's OPS against the Orioles was 1.637.

In an effort to provide the best and most complete baseball coverage possible, there's been an increase in the use of analytics and advanced metrics on these pages in recent years. Here's a rundown of some of the most frequently used ones to reference as the season goes on.

The hitters with the top 10 performances against another team in one season are a who's who of bludgeoning baseballs: Ruth, Judge, Ruth again, Ted Williams, Lou Gehrig, Willie Mays, Gehrig again, Sudlersville's Jimmie Foxx, Joe DiMaggio and Harry Heilmann. Hall of Famers all — except for Judge, at least not yet.

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The top 300 performances include two against the Orioles: Mookie Betts at No. 169 (1.293 in 2016 for the Boston Red Sox) and Mickey Mantle at No. 201 (1.278 in 1955 for the Yankees).

The highest-ranking Orioles hitter against another team, No. 277, did his damage, like Judge, in a year in which he was voted American League Rookie of the Year. In 1960, shortstop Ron Hansen had a 1.252 OPS vs. the Red Sox.

Hansen finished his 15-year major league career with 106 homers. With another 19 games against the Orioles, Judge could surpass that this season.

P.S.: This just in: Judge hit a solo homer against the Orioles on Thursday night but went just 1-for-4. His 2018 OPSVO (OPS vs. Orioles) is a measly .979.

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