Tigers hire Giants GM Scott Harris to oversee baseball operations

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BALTIMORE — Scott Harris was hired as the Detroit Tigers’ president of baseball operations, leaving the San Francisco Giants after three years as general manager.

The 36-year-old takes over for Tigers general manager Al Avila, who was fired on Aug. 10. Detroit went 404-573 under Avila, who failed to take the team to the postseason during seven seasons overseeing baseball operations.

Detroit hoped to reach the postseason but entered against Baltimore last in the AL Central.

Harris has high expectations for the Tigers, who haven’t had a winning season since 2016 and last reached the playoffs in 2014.

“He’s all in. He wants to win the World Series,” Detroit manager A.J. Hinch said in the dugout. “He’s competitive. He wants to win. He made it clear to me that’s a priority to him, and that’s what you want to hear when you’re in my situation.”

Harris played a major role in fortifying San Francisco’s roster over the last three seasons, where he worked under president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi. The Giants went 107-55 in 2021 and won the NL West, the best regular-season record in franchise history. The Giants were 205-163 during Harris’ three seasons in San Francisco.

“Scott’s vision for how to construct a baseball organization to compete and win in the modern game is impressive,” Tigers CEO Christopher Ilitch said in a statement.

A native of Redwood City, California, Harris is a 2009 graduate of UCLA, studied at Columbia Business School and received a Master of Business Administration from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management in 2015.

Harris worked for the Washington Nationals in 2008, the Cincinnati Reds in 2010 and the commissioner’s office from 2010-12 as coordinator of major league operations.

He joined the Chicago Cubs in 2012 as director of baseball operations and was promoted to assistant general manager in 2018.

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde, a coach with the Cubs from 2014-18, thinks the Tigers hired a winner.

“I’m a huge Scott Harris fan. He’s extremely bright, great with people, an unbelievable listener,” Hyde said. “He’s got great people skills, and makes very good, thought out decisions. That’s a great hire.”

Hinch heartedly agreed.

“Chris did an incredible, thorough search. He was tireless in trying to find our next leader, and he landed an exceptional person,” Hinch said. “Man, it’s inspirational to see the direction of the franchise and what Scott can bring to the organization.”

Yankees star Judge hits 61st home run, ties Maris’ AL record

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TORONTO — Aaron Judge tied Roger Maris’ American League record of 61 home runs in a season, hitting a tiebreaking, two-run drive for the New York Yankees in the seventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

The 30-year-old slugger drove a 94.5 mph belt-high sinker with a full-count from left-hander Tim Mayza over the left-field fence at Rogers Centre. The 117.4 mph drive took just 3.8 seconds to land 394 feet from the plate, and it put the Yankees ahead 5-3.

Judge watched the ball clank off the front of the stands, just below two fans who reached over a railing and tried for a catch. He pumped an arm just before reaching first and exchanged a slap with coach Travis Chapman.

The ball dropped into Toronto’s bullpen and was picked up by Blue Jays bullpen coach Matt Buschmann, who turned it over to the Yankees.

Judge’s mother and Roger Maris Jr. rose and hugged from front-row seats. He appeared to point toward them after rounding second base, then was congratulated by the entire Yankees team, who gave him hugs after he crossed the plate.

Judge moved past the 60 home runs Babe Ruth hit in 1927, which had stood as the major league mark until Maris broke it in 1961. All three stars reached those huge numbers playing for the Yankees.

Barry Bonds holds the big league record of 73 for the San Francisco Giants in 2001.

Judge had gone seven games without a home run – his longest drought this season was nine in mid-August. This was the Yankees’ 155th game of the season, leaving them seven more in the regular season.

The home run came in the fourth plate appearance of the night for Judge, ending a streak of 34 plate appearances without a home run.

Judge is hitting .313 with 130 RBIs, also the top totals in the AL. He has a chance to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012.

Maris hit No. 61 for the Yankees on Oct. 1, 1961, against Boston Red Sox pitcher Tracy Stallard.

Maris’ mark has been exceeded six times, but all have been tainted by the stench of steroids. Mark McGwire hit 70 home runs for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998 and 65 the following year, and Bonds topped him. Sammy Sosa had 66, 65 and 63 during a four-season span starting in 1998.

McGwire admitted using banned steroids, while Bonds and Sosa denied knowingly using performing-enhancing drugs. Major League Baseball started testing with penalties for PEDs in 2004, and some fans – perhaps many – until now have considered Maris the holder of the “clean” record.

Among the tallest batters in major league history, the 6-foot-7 Judge burst on the scene on Aug. 13, 2016, homering off the railing above Yankee Stadium’s center-field sports bar and into the netting above Monument Park. He followed Tyler Austin to the plate and they become the first teammates to homer in their first major league at-bats in the same game.

Judge hit 52 homers with 114 RBIs the following year and was a unanimous winner of the AL Rookie of the Year award. Injuries limited him during the following three seasons, and he rebounded to hit 39 homers with 98 RBIs in 2021.

As he approached his last season before free agent eligibility, Judge on opening day turned down the Yankees’ offer of an eight-year contract worth from $230.5 million to $234.5 million. The proposal included an average of $30.5 million annually from 2023-29, with his salary this year to be either the $17 million offered by the team in arbitration or the $21 million requested by the player.

An agreement was reached in June on a $19 million, one-year deal, and Judge heads into this offseason likely to get a contract from the Yankees or another team for $300 million or more, perhaps topping $400 million.

Judge hit six homers in April, 12 in May and 11 in June. He earned his fourth All-Star selection and entered the break with 33 homers. He had 13 homers in July and dropped to nine in August, when injuries left him less protected in the batting order and pitchers walked him 25 times.

He became just the fifth player to hold a share of the AL season record. Nap Lajoie hit 14 in the AL’s first season as a major league in 1901, and Philadelphia Athletics teammate Socks Seabold had 16 the next year, a mark that stood until Babe Ruth hit 29 in 1919. Ruth set the record four times in all, with 54 in 1920, 59 in 1921 and 60 in 1927, a mark that stood until Maris’ 61 in 1961.

Maris was at 35 in July 1961 during the first season each team’s schedule increased from 154 games to 162, and baseball Commissioner Ford Frick ruled if anyone topped Ruth in more than 154 games “there would have to be some distinctive mark in the record books to show that Babe Ruth’s record was set under a 154-game schedule.”

That “distinctive mark” became known as an “asterisk” and it remained until Sept. 4, 1991, when a committee on statistical accuracy chaired by Commissioner Fay Vincent voted unanimously to recognize Maris as the record holder.