Aaron Judge - Biography

Aaron James Judge is a Major League Baseball outfielder for the New York Yankees in the United States (MLB). In 2017, Judge was named the American League (AL) Rookie of the Year by a unanimous vote, and he came in second in voting for the AL Most Valuable Player Award. The Yankees chose Judge in the first round of the 2013 MLB draught after he played collegiate baseball for the Fresno State Bulldogs. Judge had a record-breaking rookie season in 2017 after making his MLB debut in 2016 and blasting a home run in his first MLB at-bat.

He was chosen an All-Star and became the first MLB rookie to win the Home Run Derby. Judge hit 52 home runs throughout the season, shattering Mark McGwire's MLB rookie record of 49 and the Yankees' full-season rookie record of 29. (previously held by Joe DiMaggio). Pete Alonso, with 53 home runs in 2019, shattered his rookie record, which had stood for two years. He was named Rookie of the Month in the American League (AL) in April, May, June, and September, as well as Player of the Month in the AL in June and September.

Judge is 6 feet 7 inches tall (2.01 m) and weighs 282 pounds (128 kg), making him one of MLB's biggest players.

Family and Background

Judge was adopted by Patty and Wayne Judge, both teachers in Linden, California, the day after he was born. His parents told him he was adopted when he was 10 or 11 years old; he recalls, 'I realised I didn't look like them.' John, his older brother, was adopted as well. The judge is of mixed race. Judge was a fan of the San Francisco Giants as a kid. Judge went to Linden High School and was a three-sport athlete. He was on the baseball team as a pitcher and first baseman, the football team as a wide receiver, and the basketball team as a centre.

In football, he set a school record with 17 touchdowns and led the basketball team in points per game (18.2). He was a member of the Linden High School baseball team that advanced to the Division III playoffs of the California Interscholastic Federation. He was named a Freshman All-American by Louisville Slugger. He was the winner of the TD Ameritrade College Home Run Derby in 2012. In the summer of 2012, he played collegiate summer baseball for the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod Baseball League.

Judge led the Bulldogs in home runs, doubles, and runs batted in during his junior year (RBIs). In each of his three seasons with the Bulldogs, Judge was named to the all-conference team—the WAC in his first two seasons, then the Mountain West Conference (MW) as a junior (the Bulldogs joined the MW in July 2012, between his sophomore and junior seasons).

Judge with his family
Minor leagues

The Yankees selected Judge with the 32nd overall choice in the first round of the 2013 MLB draught, a pick they acquired as compensation for losing Nick Swisher to free agency. Judge received a $1.8 million signing bonus when he signed with the Yankees. During a base running practise, he tore his quadriceps femoris muscle, which forced him to miss the 2013 season. In 2014, he made his professional debut with the Class A South Atlantic League's Charleston RiverDogs.

He was selected to play in the 2015 All-Star Futures Game for the Yankees. Judge was not selected for the Yankees' September call-ups. In 61 games for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Judge batted.224/.308/.373 with eight home runs. Judge was invited to spring training by the Yankees in 2016, and he started the season with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Judge was nominated to the International League All-Star Team in 2016, but owing to a month on the injured list due to a knee sprain, he did not participate in the 2016 Triple-A All-Star Game.

Judge batted.270/.366/.489 in 93 games for the RailRiders, with 19 home runs (4th in the league), 62 runs (8th), and 65 RBIs (tied for 7th).

New York Yankees

On August 13, 2016, Judge made his Major League Baseball debut, starting in right field against the Tampa Bay Rays. Judge hit a home run off Matt Andriese in his first MLB at-bat; the previous batter, Tyler Austin, who was also making his MLB debut, had done the same. This was the first occasion in MLB history that two teammates hit home runs in their debut at-bats in the same game. Judge also hit a home run in his second Major League Baseball game, making him only the second Yankees player (after Joe Lefebvre in 1980) to hit a home run in each of his first two games.

Judge's rookie season ended prematurely on September 13, 2016, when he was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a grade two right oblique strain against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He batted.179 and struck out 42 times in 84 at-bats (95 plate appearances).

Judge's rookie season in 2016
2017 (Rookie season)

Judge will start in right field for the Yankees against the Tampa Bay Rays on Opening Day. On April 28, he hit his first multi-home run game, helping the Yankees come back from a 9–1 deficit to win 14–11 against the Baltimore Orioles. The fastest exit velocity for a home run measured by Statcast since it was adopted in 2015 was 119.4 miles per hour (192.2 km/h) on one of the home runs. On August 9, 2018, teammate Giancarlo Stanton broke the record with a home run with an exit velocity of 121.7 miles per hour (195.9 kilometres per hour).

Judge hit a home run with an exit velocity of 121.1 mph (194.9 km/h) on June 10, setting a new record for the hardest home run ever measured by Statcast. The next day, Judge went 4-for-4 with two home runs, including a 495-foot (151-meter) home shot that set a new record for the longest home run hit in the 2017 season. Judge was awarded AL Player of the Week on June 12. Judge had a 32-game hitting streak, including hitting safely in every game in June. Judge was selected as the starting outfielder for the 2017 MLB All-Star Game on July 2, collecting 4,488,702 votes, the most of any AL player.

Judge became the first rookie to win the Home Run Derby outright in 2017, defeating Minnesota Twins third baseman Miguel Sanó 11–10 in the final round. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said after Judge's performance that he is a player 'who has the potential to become the face of the game.' Judge hit a home shot on July 21 that nearly sailed out of Safeco Field. Statcast was unable to measure the details of the home run since the ball was struck so hard.

On September 4, Judge became the first AL rookie since Al Rosen (1950) to record 100 walks in a single season, and the first player in MLB since Jim Gilliam (1953). On September 10, Judge received his 107th walk of the season, the most by a rookie since Ted Williams in 1939. He also became the second rookie in MLB history to smash 40 home runs in a season, following Mark McGwire (1987). He joined Babe Ruth (1920), Lou Gehrig (1927), Joe DiMaggio (1937), and Mickey Mantle (1956) as the only Yankees under the age of 25 to smash 40 home runs in a season.

In terms of RBIs, he was second in the league. He also struck out an MLB-high 208 times, breaking Curtis Granderson's 2012 Yankees record and Kris Bryant's 2015 rookie mark. The Yankees secured a wild card place after finishing the season with a 91–71 record. Judge hit his first career postseason home run in an 8-4 Yankees victory over the Minnesota Twins in the AL Wild Card game. Judge was named to Baseball America's All-MLB Team as an outfielder, as well as receiving the Players Choice Award for Outstanding AL Rookie and a Silver Slugger Award at the end of the season.

Judge was named the American League Rookie of the Year by a unanimous vote. He went on to receive two first-place votes, 27 second-place votes, and one third-place vote in the voting for the 2017 American League Most Valuable Player Award, which went to José Altuve. Judge had undergone arthroscopic surgery in his left shoulder for a cartilage cleaning on November 21, an injury that had occurred in April of that year.

Judge's rookie season in 2017
2018 (Rookie season)

Judge was hit on the right wrist by a 93 mph fastball from Kansas City Royals pitcher Jakob Junis on July 26 and left the game in the fourth inning. He has a fractured ulnar styloid bone in his wrist, according to an MRI/CT scan. There was no need for surgery, and Judge was expected to recover in three weeks, according to preliminary reports. Judge was out for over two months as a result of the injury taking longer to heal than expected.

Judge returned to the starting lineup against the Boston Red Sox on September 18. Judge had a.278 batting average, 27 home runs, and 67 RBIs in 112 games this season. The Yankees won the wild card game against the Oakland Athletics, but lost the American League Division Series to the Boston Red Sox three games to one.

Judge playing a match in 2018
2019 (Rookie season)

In his first 20 games, Judge batted.288 with five home runs and 11 RBIs. However, while hitting a single in the sixth inning against the Kansas City Royals on April 20, Judge strained his left oblique.

He hit.272/.381/.540 in 378 at-bats in 2019, with 27 home runs and 55 RBIs. With an average exit velocity of 95.9 mph, his balls had the greatest exit velocity of any major leaguer. As a right fielder, he matched for the league lead in defensive runs saved (19), but was granted a better ranking due to his efficiency (775.1 innings vs. 911.1). For his efforts in right field, he was named Wilson Defensive Player of the Year.

Judge playing a match in 2019 season
2020 (Rookie season)

Judge was bothered by soreness in his pectoral muscles during Spring Training. He has a stress fracture in his ribs and was ruled out for at least two weeks after it was discovered. Judge hit a 419-foot, 108-mph three-run home run off of Boston Red Sox pitcher Matt Hall to start the delayed 60-game regular season. On August 3, he went 2 for 4 with no home runs, ending his streak. Since Alex Rodriguez (September 4–9, 2007), it was the longest by a Yankee player. Judge suffered a right calf strain on August 14 and was placed on the 10-day injured list.

After straining the same calf the day he returned against the Atlanta Braves on August 26, he was placed on the 10-day injured list again. Over the course of 28 games, he hit.257/.336/.554 with nine home runs and 22 RBI.

Judge 2020 season
2021 (Rookie season)

Judge was named AL Player of the Week for the week of May 10–17 for the fourth time in his career, most recently in September 2017. He was the second Yankee to win Player of the Month this season, following teammate Corey Kluber, who won in April. Judge joined Dellin Betances, Robinson Canó, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, and C.C. Sabathia as the Yankees' sixth player to be named to at least three All-Star teams since 2010.

In a game against the Houston Astros on July 9, Judge hit his 500th career hit, a double to left field off pitcher Brandon Bielak. He became the second Yankee to reach 500 hits and 100 home runs in the same season. Only Joe DiMaggio (395 games) was faster than him in reaching the milestone in his 506th game.

Judge and five other players tested positive for COVID-19 before the start of the second half of the season in July 2021, prompting the Yankees to place Judge and the other five players on the COVID-19 injured list. The Yankees' game against the Boston Red Sox, which was scheduled for July 15, was then postponed by the MLB. The game was rescheduled for August 17 as part of a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium. Judge hit two multiple run home runs in the Field of Dreams game in Iowa on August 12.

On September 11, he also hit his 31st and 32nd home runs against the New York Mets in the 9/11 Memorial 20th anniversary game. He now has the second-fewest games to 150 home runs in MLB history (552). Only Ryan Howard was able to do it in fewer games (495). This was Judge's 15th career game with multiple home runs.

Judge playing a match in 2021 season
Uniformity

Since receiving the unusual uniform number of 99 during spring training in 2016, Judge has worn it (higher numbers are often given to young players who are not expected to make the regular-season team). Judge has stated that he prefers No. 44 (retired by the Yankees in honour of Reggie Jackson) or No. 35, but is undecided about switching if the latter two become available.

Players Weekend was created by MLB and the MLB Players Association to allow players to 'express themselves while connecting with their past in youth baseball.' Players wore alternate team jerseys inspired by youth league designs from August 25–27, 2017. On their jersey nameplates, they could also replace their last names with their nicknames, which the vast majority of players did. On the back of his jersey nameplate, Judge chose the nickname 'All Rise,' which was given to him by former teammate Todd Frazier.

Judge chose to have his last name only on the back of his jersey for the 2018 Players Weekend. During the 2019 event, Judge adopted the moniker 'BAJ,' which stands for 'Big Aaron Judge.'

Judge's Jersey
Profile of the Player

Judge stands 6 feet 7 inches (2.01 m) tall and weighs 282 pounds (128 kg). He's been compared to teammate Giancarlo Stanton, Richie Sexson, Dave Winfield, and Willie Stargell because of his size and strength.

Judge's profile
Pregame rituals

On and off the field, Judge has been credited as a team leader. He has a number of rituals that set him apart from other players before, during, and after games. According to Michael Kay (as discussed on The Michael Kay Show), Judge ceremoniously tosses exactly 40 sunflower seeds in the grass behind home plate before each game at Yankee Stadium (one for each man on the extended Yankees roster.) The public is unaware of the prayer he recites after tossing the seeds.",

Private life

Judge is a devout Christian who has shared his faith on Twitter. He keeps a note on his phone that reads '.179,' his 2016 batting average with the Yankees, and looks at it every day as motivation. Judge was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated on May 15, 2017. On May 15, 2017, he went undercover to ask Yankee fans questions about himself on an episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Judge was announced as the cover athlete for MLB The Show 18 on November 6, 2017, as well as a Pepsi endorsement deal.

Judge signed an endorsement deal with Adidas for the 2018 season, ending his contract with Under Armour, which he had since 2014. Judge has been praised for his humble demeanour and willingness to work as part of a team.

Aaron Judge All Rise Foundation

The Aaron Judge All Rise Foundation was founded by Judge. “Inspire children and youth to become responsible citizens and encourage them to reach unlimited possibilities,” says the mission statement.