Mark McGwire set the major-league record for home runs by a rookie when he belted 49 for the Oakland Athletics.
McGwire had 33 by the All-Star break and went on to shatter the rookie home-run record of 38, held by both Frank Robinson and Wally Berger.
It’s a distinction he has since held for 30 years, but his perch could be threatened this season -- by two young players who are in pursuit.
With the All-Star break approaching, Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge and Dodgers left fielder Cody Bellinger are both viable candidates to surpass McGwire’s mark.
Heading into Friday's play, the 25-year-old Judge is hitting .331 with a majors-best 29 home runs and 65 RBI in 81 games (update: he hit his 30th on Friday). Bellinger, 21, is batting .258 with 24 homers and 56 RBI in just 67 games.
Although rookies are somewhat notorious for second-half slumps following sizzling starts, Judge and Bellinger have shown poise and consistency thus far.
Sportsbook Bovada.lv is offering a proposition wager on their chances of making history:
Who will break Mark McGwire's 1987 rookie regular-season home run record of 49?
Aaron Judge, 5/2 (risk $200 to win $500)
Cody Bellinger, 5/1 (risk $100 to win $500)
Both Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger, 10/1 (risk $100 to win $1,000)
Neither Aaron Judge nor Cody Bellinger, 1/2 (risk $200 to win $100)
Pick: Oddsmakers apparently anticipate both players fading in the second half, because neither player breaking the record is a heavy favorite.
But SportsLine baseball expert Mike McClure sees it the other way around. He believes both players will keep producing, and likes the long-shot value on picking them both to hit more than 49 home runs.
"It's hard to call anyone a lock, but Judge feels like a lock to hit 50 home runs this season" McClure said. "With home runs up big across the league, I like both players to reach 50 home runs. Judge certainly has the edge with the parks in the AL East, but Bellinger has enough power to get this record and keep pace with Judge for another month or two."