|Full Name||Aaron James Judge|
|Birthday||April 26, 1992|
Aaron Judge; Yankees OF, 2017 AL ROY, 2nd in MVP vote.
In an era increasingly dominated by analytics and minuscule ballplayers, Aaron Judge is an outlier. The hulking 6’7” outfielder sticks out in any MLB stadium, dwarfing opponents and teammates alike. But it’s not just Judge’s height that grabs attention—his prodigious power at the plate makes him must-see entertainment every time he steps into the box.
After a rocky start to his big league career, Judge enjoyed a historic breakout season in 2017. He obliterated the rookie home run record with 52 massive blasts and became the face of the Yankees revival. Since then, he‘s established himself as one of baseball‘s most feared sluggers. Though injuries have slowed him at times, his towering presence in New York creates an electric atmosphere whenever he takes the field.
Aaron James Judge entered the world on April 26, 1992 in Linden, California, as the second-born son of Wayne and Patty Judge. He demonstrated athletic promise from an early age, eventually growing into a three-sport high school star at Linden High.
Judge focused on baseball and basketball, earning All-State honors in both. Several PAC-10 schools recruited the burgeoning 6’4” teen athlete. But Judge passed on college scholarships initially after the Oakland A‘s selected him in the 31st round of the 2010 MLB draft.
Judge didn‘t sign with Oakland, opting for college ball instead. He packed his bags for Fresno State University, where he continued excelling on the diamond and hardwood. As a sophomore, Judge batted .358 with 12 homers, numbers he nearly replicated again during his junior season.
The breakout years for the bulky Bulldogs slugger vaulted Judge up draft boards nationwide. The New York Yankees snatched up the promising prospect in the 1st round of the 2013 draft, seeing immense potential in his towering frame and sweet swing.
Grinding Through the Minors
Unlike many first rounders, Judge did not race to the majors after his selection. He reported to the Yankees Low-A affiliate but struggled mightily, striking out 42 times in 145 at-bats. Clearly, the raw slugger needed seasoning.
Judge spent parts of four seasons developing in the minors before debuting with the Yankees in August 2016. He showed promise in Triple-A in 2016, mashing 19 homers in just 93 games while cutting down on strikeouts.
Finally, the Yankees called up their hulking prospect on August 13, 2016. In his very first MLB at-bat, Judge smashed a home run off the railing above center field, an astonishing display of power. But he tapered off after the hot start, finishing his first taste of the bigs with a .179 average.
Entering 2017, few could have predicted the utter dominance Judge was about to unload across the league.
Historic 2017 Rookie Campaign
Right from Opening Day of the 2017 season, Judge began terrorizing pitchers. He cracked 10 April home runs, a new MLB rookie record for the month. As the season progressed, he only got hotter.
Games became must-see events whenever the stoic slugger dug into the box. Fans stood in awe as Judge launched titanic blasts with casual ease. By the All-Star break, he already had 30 homers while batting .329.
Judge ended up whacking 52 homers in total, breaking Mark McGwire‘s previous rookie record of 49. He also led the AL in homers, runs scored (128), walks (127), and strikeouts (208). The unanimous AL Rookie of the Year selection finished second in MVP voting to Jose Altuve.
But Judge was the undisputed king of the 2017 Home Run Derby. He set records for longest homer (513 feet) and most consecutive homers (16) in winning the Derby. The usually reserved Judge couldn‘t hide his childlike joy bomb after bomb into the Miami night.
After his historic campaign, Judge became a certifiable superstar. His #99 jersey sold like crazy. He secured endorsement deals with Adidas, Pepsi, and more. And MLB promoted their towering new face at every turn.
Since his rookie breakout, Judge has maintained his status among the game‘s most feared power hitters. Though he hasn‘t matched his 52-homer career high, his lowest output still sits at 27 long balls over just 102 games in 2020.
The perennial All-Star and MVP candidate anchors the middle of the Yankees order. When Judge is in the zone, he‘s a human highlight reel. He rockets line drives into the second deck with casual ease. His batting practice sessions regularly drop jaws with 500-foot rockets landing among the bleacher creatures.
Among active players, Judge boasts the highest career slugging percentage (.554), second-highest OPS (.946), and fifth highest home run total (220). He reached 200 career home runs faster than any player ever, doing so in just 671 games.
At just 31 years old, Judge likely still hasn‘t reached his peak. Maintaining health will be key, but all signs point to him continuing his assault on batting records and Yankee fandom in the coming years.
Life Outside the Lines
For a man of larger-than-life stature, Aaron Judge maintains a relatively quiet personal life. He had a long-time girlfriend named Samantha Bracksieck, but has kept details of their relationship private following breakup rumors.
Raised in a Christian household, Judge exhibits faith and humility uncommon among sports stars. He‘s gracious with fans, especially kids who idolize the giant slugger. Judge also partakes in community outreach focused on youth mentorship and military families.
During the COVID-19 halted 2020 season, Judge streamed Fortnite battles online to interact with homebound fans. Gaming is a personal hobby he enjoys away from the ballpark. Judge is also passionate about travel; some favorite destinations have included the Bahamas, Hawaii, and Europe.
When not hitting moonshots or streaming games, Judge decompresses through low-key activities like golf, trying new restaurants, and spending quality time with close friends and family away from the limelight.
In an era of baseball increasingly shifting toward speed and precision, Aaron Judge remains an anomaly. His sheer size and strength conjure legends of the past like Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth. But a closer look reveals a hard-working player striving for excellence through preparation and grit.
Off the field, Judge exhibits grace, humility, and generosity unusual for a global sports icon. His discipline and character signal the admirable principles instilled by his close-knit family and faith.
At just 31 years old, Judge‘s legendary career is still ascending. The ceiling for future achievement appears sky-high. No matter what still lies ahead, Judge has already secured his place among Yankee and baseball greats. For any sports fan, witnessing his awesome power and presence is a distinct privilege.