Brooklyn native sees Aaron Choose pursuit 61 years after Roger Maris

An electric, but uniquely weird vibe engulfed chilly and damp Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The centerpiece of attention was, of course, the anticipation over Aaron Judge and whether he would hit his 62nd home run, to break Roger Maris’ long-standing American League record.

Surrounding that anticipation was a game of zero consequence in the standings. The Yankees had already clinched the AL East and the Orioles had been eliminated from postseason contention.

Then there was Yankees starting pitcher Nestor Cortes, mowing down the Baltimore lineup, briefly flirting with a no-hitter and finishing with 12 strikeouts and only one hit allowed.

There also were several key Yankees who figure to be integral to how deep they will take this ride once the postseason begins: Giancarlo Stanton drilled his 29th home run, and Gleyber Torres, Josh Donaldson and Kyle Higashioka all knocked in runs in the Yankees’ 8-0 win.

And then there was what was going on in Section 227A, Row 5 along the third-base line. That’s where a 69-year-old guy named Burt Rochelson sat with 11 family members, hoping for history to repeat itself.

Burt Rochelson was back at the Stadium on Oct. 1, ready to see Aaron Judge (inset -right) break Roger Maris’ AL and Yankee home run record exactly 61 years to the day after he saw Maris (inset-left) set it.
Mark Cannizzaro; AP; Getty Images

Sixty-one years ago Saturday — Oct. 1, 1961 — Rochelson sat in the old Yankee Stadium as an 8-year-old with his parents and witnessed Maris break Babe Ruth’s long-standing home run record of 60 by hitting his 61st homer.

“It was the only baseball game I ever went to with my father,’’ Rochelson told The Post from his seat at the Stadium. “He was European and he didn’t get baseball at all. He was just trying to be a good dad and took me to the game. Everyone in the stands was going crazy and standing up and cheering that day and he couldn’t figure out what was the big deal.

Burt Rochelson kept his program and scorecard from the game on Oct. 1, 1961, that Roger Maris set the AL — and then major league — home run record.
Burt Rochelson kept his program and scorecard from the game on Oct. 1, 1961, that Roger Maris set the AL — and then major league — home run record.
Mark Cannizzaro (2)

“It was quite a day.’’

Rochelson, a Brooklyn native who now lives in Port Washington, was hoping for another special day Saturday, pining to see Judge hit No. 62 to bring his baseball life “linear’’ — full-circle.

“This was sort of a romantic notion for me, because the day Maris hit the home run it was October 1, so there is a symmetry to this,’’ he said. “About six weeks ago or a little bit more, Judge was hitting home runs at a rate of about every 2.6 games. I did the math and said, ‘He might end up breaking the record on October 1st.’

Burt Rochelon with three sons David on left, Jordan (center) and and Ellis
Burt Rochelon with three sons David on left, Jordan (center) and and Ellis
Mark Cannizzaro

“So, I got the tickets.’’

Rochelson was at the game with his three sons and grandchildren. He, too, had with him the scorecard from that 1961 game, which cost 15 cents, and had players’ names written in the lineup. In the cleanup spot on that scorecard, Yogi Berra’s name was scratched out in favor of Hector Lopez, who just died Friday at age 93.

By game’s end Saturday, Judge didn’t make history, going 0-2 with two strikeouts, two walks and a hit-by-pitch.

“Even though he didn’t hit the home run today it would still be fun to be there,’’ Rochelson said. “As I told one of my kids this morning, the stars were aligned. After watching the weather all week, it looked terrible and this morning there was a three-hour window between 1 and 4 o’clock.

“I was really pumped. It was sort of a linear part of my life. I was at this game 61 years ago, so being here with my kids and grandchildren was just amazing.’’

Rochelson said he became a Yankees fan because the Dodgers had fled west and “the Yankees were the only game in town’’ and there was a D train stop across the street from his house in Brooklyn as a kid that he could take straight to Yankee Stadium.

He didn’t lament not seeing Judge break the Maris record Saturday. But he’ll be watching from home Sunday hoping for history.

“Sooner or later,’’ he said, “some pitcher’s going to make a mistake.’’

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