New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge has been the hottest hitter out this season. Only being four inches short of seven feet tall, his power rivals that of Giancarlo Stanton. Judge has hit a whopping 32 home-runs so far, and the season isn't even over yet! By the pace he is going, there is no doubt that he'll easily clinch the American League Rookie of the Year honors - and maybe even MVP. Small-town boy Aaron is proving to be a great role model for viewers and players alike. His down-to-Earth attitude and mentality seems to resonate with anyone who has seen him play or speak. His humbleness and work ethic will take him on a record-breaking major league baseball career as long as he keeps it up; and the 25-year-old shows no signs of slowing down.
This dynamic power hitter has come a long way, from being drafted in the majors and performing poorly, building his game back up in the minors and now being here. His vast improvements and incredible athleticism is just what the Yankees needed (who failed to make the post season last year) to rise back to the top and to beat the Red Sox into the ground. Surprisingly, when he was traded to the Yankees, he was offered as a compensation pick after the Cleveland Indians signed Nick Swisher (who was also a big hitter, although lucky for NY Judge ended up being the better option). Now without further ado, let's find out a few things about the beloved slugger.
15 Second Player To Home-Run In First At-Bat In Each Of His First Two Career Games
An incredible feat done by the Bronx bomber, can anyone honestly sat that they were surprised? He averages an exit velocity of 95.5 mph and sitting at 6'7, 282 pounds, this man knows how to smack a baseball. Although this is a stat most people probably don't know about or isn't the first thing that comes to mind, it's an interesting accomplishment in the stat filled major league world of sports. But let's not discredit the achievement as it's insanely hard to hit a home run against these professional pitchers, especially when you've been in the minors for so long; and then Aaron Judge comes along and does it his first try. Whoever that pitcher was must've been shaking his head after the pitch in both disappointment and amazement.
14 He Has The Longest Home-Run In The Majors This Season
That's right, you heard it. A rookie has the longest home-run in the majors so far in this 2017 season. Judge's number one home-run reached all the way out to 496 feet. He surpassed star players such as Giancarlo Stanton, Charlie Blackmon, Bryce Harper... and well, everyone! When Aaron Judge was told as a child to shoot for the stars, I think he took that phrase too literally. At the rate he's going, some of the balls he hits may be sent into the Earth's orbit. The longest official home-run ever made was by minor league player Joey Meyer, who smashed the ball 582 feet for the Denver Zephyrs way back in 1987 - and to be honest, Judge isn't that far off. He may not be aiming for the longest home-run in the history of baseball, but he sure as hell may get it along the way.
13 Third Yankee Ever To Wear Number 99
The first to have it was Yankee Charlie Keller, way back in 1952. Brian Bruney is the second player to wear the number 99, and that was back in 2009. And now, it has been bestowed upon Judge. Do you ever wonder why Aaron Judge wears the number 99? Well, to be quite honest, there isn't much of a backstory. "They gave it to me in spring training and it just kind of stuck with me a little bit," Judge told NJ Advance Media. Yup, that's it. 99 in baseball is a small group, and a rare number to wear. Out of the history of the major leagues, only 15 players have ever worn that jersey number. A fun fact, Judge's twitter handle has the number 44 in it, and not 99 because he just likes that number better. Although 44 is retired by the Yankees, 35 is also a favorite. It's worn by Pineda, but maybe down the road it'll become available.
12 First Player In The American League To Record At Least One Extra-Base Hit And One RBI In Each Of His First Three Career Games
It may be an unusual statistic that you haven't really considered before, and it sure is a rare occurrence. It also shows off Judge's athletic ability to run fast and hit hard, especially considering his height and weight. To be the first one to do it in the American League is surprising considering it's already 2017 and baseball has been around for more than 100 years. As small as the record may be, he is breaking them left and right - if you consider this to be a record and not a statistic. He was also seventh in batting with a .335 average, third in on-base percentage at .441, third in slugging at .692, second in on-base plus slugging (OBPS) at 1.132, and tied for first with 58 runs scored after hitting the first home-run.
11 His Middle Name Is James
Aaron James Judge, the man, the myth and the legend. If you were expecting some wacky or cool middle name, you were wrong. Just like his middle name, his personality and attitude is very normal and down-to-Earth, and the only thing crazy about this man is his insane strength when hitting a baseball (and a few other things which you'll find out later). There are no nickname incarnations which include his middle name as of now, but as he gains popularity, people will definitely think of some clever and edgy way to include it. In short while, there will be a handful of nicknames bestowed upon Judge as New York fanes grow to love him more and more each day.
10 He Was Adopted
Aaron Judge was born on April 26th, 1992 in Linden, California; which is a very small community of approximately 2,000 residents. And on April 27th, Aaron was adopted by Wayne and Patty Judge, when he was one day old. Both of his adopted parents were school teachers before they retired, and they also adopted another boy before him, John Judge, who is now a schoolteacher in South Korea. Judge is of Christian faith, and has told the media that God matched he and his adoptive parents together. However, he hasn't had any contact with his biological parents - and I bet they really regret putting him up for adoption right about now! (although we don't know the circumstances).
9 Aaron Excelled (And Excels) At Multiple Sports
Judge is turning out to be one heck of a baseball player, but he also excelled at a couple of other sports while growing up. He played first base and pitched for his Linden High School baseball team, as well as being a wide receiver for the school’s football team and playing center for its basketball team. Judge, number 23 at the time, was the leading scorer on the basketball team when it came to points per game. He also holds the school football record for touchdowns and receiving yards. This usually tends to be the case for most superstar athletes these days, being a star at multiple sports. Judge also led his school baseball team to the California Interscholastic Federation Division III playoffs. Several colleges including UCLA, Notre Dame and Stanford recruited him to play football, but the he decided to focus on baseball. For the sake of career longevity and not wanting to get brain damage, I believe Judge made the right choice - and he has no regrets.
8 Originally Drafted By Oakland
Originally, Aaron Judge was chosen in the 2010 Major League Baseball Draft by the Oakland Athletics during the 31st round. However, being 18-years-old at the time, he had a big decision to make: does he risk going into the majors this young? Or does he say no and go to college instead. Judge eventually chose to decline, and go to college instead of pursuing the pros, and he winded up at Fresno State University. There, he played three seasons with the Fresno State Bulldogs and was a freshman All-American. On top of that, he also won the TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby in 2012 with 16 homers. Judge led the Bulldogs in doubles, home runs, and RBIs during his junior year when he posted a .373 batting average and made the conference’s All-Star team in each of his three seasons. The Yankees then drafted Judge in 2013 in the first round with the 32nd pick overall and he received a $1.8 million signing bonus.
7 He's A Conscientious Student
Not only was Judge an excellent athlete in high school, he was also a fine, good student. He had a grade point average of 3.2 when he graduated from Linden High School and was on the student council for two years. Judge also liked to participate in community service and used to pick up garbage from the school grounds and local area with several of his teammates from the basketball team. Judge said he and his basketball teammates would get up early and pick up garbage after breakfast and felt it was a great bonding experience for he and the team as well as being fun. He said he grew up following certain rules laid down by his parents and knew he had to maintain a good grade point average if he wanted to enjoy activities such as video games and sports. Also, Judge was honored with the Brewster Whitecaps’ Citizenship Award in 2012 for being the team’s most positive member.
6 Has His Own Cheering Section
Otherwise known as the, "Judge's Chambers," the big right fielder was honored with his own cheering section back in May of 2017. Aaron has given the fans a lot to cheer about, such as tying the rookie record of 10 home-runs in April, being named the American League Rookie of the Month for both April and May and became the third Yankee to slam at least 12 home-runs within the first 25 games. Only two other players were able to do that: Babe Ruth and Alex Rodriguez. The Judge’s Chambers section is located in section 104 in the right-field at Yankee Stadium and consists of three rows of seats. Fans who sit there are dressed from head to toe in wigs and black robes and have foam gavels as they cheer on their favorite player.
5 He's Superstitious
Many pro athletes (and fans) are superstitious and we can add Aaron Judge’s name to the long list of them. Aaron said that he chews a piece of gum at the start of each game and will keep on chewing it as long as he gets a hit during his first at-bat. However, if he doesn’t get a hit he’ll replace the old stick of gum with a fresh new one. If he gets a hit during his next at-bat he’ll keep chewing the gum, but if he goes hitless he’ll change the gum once again, and so on for the remainder of the game. Sounds like quite the unique ritual; and hopefully he keeps hitting to save himself a fortune on gum! "Hopefully, by the end of the night, I have a nasty, old, unflavored piece of gum in my mouth," Judge says.
4 Stole More Bases Than Home-Runs In College
This may be hard to believe for some when taking his height and weight into consideration. But, back in college, he still was a big hitter, but not as developed as he is now. Lets not forget that he also had the opportunity to play Division 1 football, possibly as a tight end, which means he definitely has the speed. Being able to steal that many bases does not only prove his athletic ability, but it also shows that he has a high baseball IQ, and knows how to make quick decisions (which isn't a surprise considering he was a great student academically).
3 Doesn't Like New York City
The day before the Yankees selected him, Aaron attended the 2013 draft in New York City and felt a bit overwhelmed. He wasn't a fan of all the many people, cars and tall buildings surrounding him. “It’s too busy, seems hectic,” Judge told The Bee. “I’m not sure I could ever live here.” Coming from a small town in California, it's quite the big jump. Although, the city may have grown on him considering that was four years ago now; and the fans sure grew on him. It's understandable that a small town boy coming up to the big city may cause some discomfort but Judge is doing just fine at this point.
2 One Of Seven Major League Hitters Since 2000 To Stand At 6'7
Why so rare? That is because tall hitters tend to have a large strike zone and trouble controlling and replicating their swing. “You don’t see guys his size get an extended period of time in the big leagues,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “The list is very small.” It does seem that Judge has the technique down pat, considering all the work he's been putting in. He may be the size of a tight-end, but his size did not stop him from pursuing his love for baseball. “I fell in love with baseball at an early age,” Judge said. “If I had to choose one, it was always going to be baseball.”
1 His Jersey Is Very Popular In Fresno
Judge’s home Yankees jersey (with pinstripes) is a hot seller at Fresno-area sports apparel stores. He has gained attention and fame from just about anywhere, and from Yankee fans and non-fans alike. Judge growing up and going to school is California also helped to bolster the sales - Aaron being sort of a "hometown hero." Johnny P., assistant manager at Sports Station in Fashion Fair Mall, said he has sold “about three dozen” (jerseys and t-shirts) over the course of a few weeks. “He’s gotten popular once people remembered he was from the Valley,” P. said. Who knows? Maybe years down the road he may make a return to the California area, although as of now he's just getting settled into New York.