Aaron Judge, the star of the New York Yankees, is not just a name associated with home runs and catchy puns. While his towering home run production is celebrated, his remarkable backstory and journey to the Major Leagues deserve equal recognition. As Judge’s prominence continues to rise, especially with his participation in the Home Run Derby, debut in the All-Star Game, and contributions to the Yankees’ pennant race, let’s explore six intriguing facets of the rookie outfielder.
1. An Inspirational Adoption Story
Aaron Judge’s life is a testament to the power of love and family. As a child, he realized he didn’t resemble his parents. His adoptive parents, Wayne and Patty Judge, revealed the truth to their son. Aaron was adopted just one day after his birth in Linden, California. Despite knowing he’s not biologically related to them, Aaron’s bond with his adoptive parents remains unbreakable. He even makes it a point to call them every day. In a heartwarming twist, the Judges also adopted Aaron’s older brother, John, who now resides in South Korea, working as an English teacher. Aaron attributes his success to the guidance and values instilled by his mom, stating that she played a pivotal role in shaping him into the person he is today.
2. A Chewy Superstition
Every athlete, whether a rookie or a veteran, has their unique superstitions. Aaron Judge is no exception. Despite being a rookie, he has a rather unusual superstition – an unwavering dedication to chewing gum.
3. The High School Star
Before donning the pinstripes of the New York Yankees, Aaron Judge was a multi-sport sensation in high school. He excelled in basketball, football, and baseball. On the basketball court, he averaged an impressive 18 points and 13 rebounds as a senior center. As a tight end, Judge set records at Linden High School for single-season receiving yards (969) and touchdowns (17). His football prowess garnered attention from top colleges like UCLA, Stanford, and Notre Dame. However, baseball held a special place in his heart. The Oakland A’s initially selected him in the 30th round of the 2010 amateur draft, but he chose to continue his education. He went on to play three seasons for Fresno State’s baseball team, and it was the New York Yankees who ultimately drafted him in the 32nd overall pick.
4. The Journey to Stardom
Aaron Judge’s baseball journey wasn’t an instant success story. His time in the Major Leagues had a rocky start. During the 2016 season, in his first 27 games, he posted a batting average of just .179 with four home runs and 42 strikeouts. However, things took a dramatic turn in 2017. The 25-year-old outfielder surged ahead to lead the major leagues with 27 homers in just 77 games. He also emerged as the American League leader in batting average (.327), RBI (62), on-base percentage (.448), and slugging percentage (.687). These remarkable statistics earned him a spot as a starting player in the All-Star team, showcasing his remarkable growth.
5. The Late-Night Debut
In 2017, only a month into the season, Aaron Judge made an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Despite his impressive performance in April, it took some time for the locals to recognize and appreciate his talents.
6. The No. 99 Legacy
The number 99 has graced the backs of only 17 major leaguers, and among them, Aaron Judge shines as one of the tallest. Standing at 6-foot-7, he joins the exclusive club of major league hitters over 6-foot-7. Notably, Charlie Keller (1952) and Brian Bruney (2007-09) are the only other Yankees who have worn the number 99. Judge confessed that it wasn’t his first choice, as he favored numbers 35 or 44. However, he received the number during spring training, and it soon became synonymous with his name. As one of the tallest players in the league, he draws comparisons to fellow towering outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. His incredible start to his career even earned him a dedicated section in Yankee Stadium – “The Judge’s Chambers.”
In conclusion, Aaron Judge’s journey from adoption to superstitions, his high school achievements, his roller-coaster ride in the major leagues, and his iconic jersey number make him a fascinating figure in the world of baseball. As he continues to make a significant impact on the New York Yankees and the sport, his story is a testament to perseverance and the power of family.