15 Key Facts About New York Yankees Slugger Aaron Judge
What do you think about when you hear the name Aaron Judge?
Latest New York Yankees superstar in a long line of legends…
Home runs — and lots of them…
By now, baseball fans have become familiar with the larger-than-life All-Star who spends his summer nights launching moonshots for the Bronx Bombers, but there’s several interesting facts that most people don’t know about the 2017 American League Rookie of the Year and MVP runner-up.
Thanks to the personal tidbits we’ve uncovered — some heartwarming, some obscure, and some hilarious — you can get to know one of the game’s most recognizable sluggers even better while the pennant chase heats up.
A Note on His Phone Reads ".179"
That random number signifies Judge's batting average from the 2016 season, during which he played in the big leagues for a brief stint of 27 games.
Clearly, the motivation paid dividends, as he registered a .284 average, 52 home runs and 114 RBI in 155 contests en route to winning the Rookie of the Year award the following year.
He Was Adopted
Judge was raised in Linden, Calif. — about 50 miles southeast of Sacramento — and was adopted the day after he was born by Patty and Wayne Judge, who both worked as teachers. When he was 10 years old, his parents told him that he was adopted. Throughout his journey to the big leagues, he’s been extremely grateful for the loving household in which he grew up.
"I know I wouldn't be a New York Yankee if it wasn't for my mom," he told MLB.com during the 2017 season. "The guidance she gave me as a kid growing up, knowing the difference from right and wrong, how to treat people and how to go the extra mile and put in extra work, all that kind of stuff. She's molded me into the person that I am today."
In addition, he told the New York Post, “I feel they kind of picked me. I feel that God was the one that matched us together.”
He’s Superstitious About Bubble Gum
It turns out, Judge always keeps two pieces of gum in his mouth. If he gets a hit, the gum stays, but if he doesn’t reach base, he spits it out and chews two new pieces.
This means, in 678 plate appearances in 2017, he had to exchange pieces of gum 392 times.
And Sunflower Seeds
According to YES Network broadcaster Michael Kay, Aaron ceremoniously tosses 40 seeds in the grass behind home plate to honor each man on the Yankees’ 40-man roster and says a quick prayer.
He Loves Times Square
- You’d think any celebrity — especially a sports star — would avoid walking in crowded areas of a major city. Well, think again.
According to an interview with Complex, Aaron enjoyed strolling Times Square during his first full year living in the Big Apple.
"I enjoyed it just because there were so many tourists that not a lot of people recognized me," Judge said. "People didn’t know who I was. I could walk around Times Square whenever I wanted and not really get bothered too much."
We’re assuming it’s a tad more difficult to keep under the radar nowadays.
His Apartment Is Insanely Beautiful
Speaking of spending time in Manhattan, Judge resides in a glassy and posh apartment building on East 34th Street.
A source told 6sqft that Aaron began renting his Murray Hill pad for a cool $13,900 a month. His place supposedly has two private terraces, a large open concept kitchen and living room, and floor-to-ceiling windows.
It sounds like he has plenty of room to display his future trophies, too
He Was a Three-Sport Star in High School
He obviously was one of the top baseball prospects in America, and also averaged 18 points and 13 rebounds per game for the Linden High School’s basketball team.
That’s not all, though. Meanwhile, in the fall, he scored 17 touchdowns as a senior tight end on the football team — and received scholarship offers from Notre Dame, UCLA and Stanford.
And Once an Ace Pitcher Too
Speaking of high school, Judge was a star on the mound. He registered a 9-3 record with a 0.88 ERA, 65 strikeouts, and finished his senior year with five consecutive wins upon winning the league championship.
This made us wonder how he’d fare against major leaguers.
Only 10 Players in MLB History Are Taller
His 6-foot-7 frame is very noticeable, even on television. It turns out, though, Aaron is the 11th-tallest player in major league history.
He falls behind Jon Rauch (6-11), Randy Johnson (6-10), Eric Hillman (6-10), Chris Young (6-10), Mark Hendrickson (6-9), Richie Sexton (6-8), Judge’s current teammate Dellin Betances (6-8), Tyler Glasnow (6-8), Logan Ondrusek (6-8) and Doug Fister (6-8).
No. 99 Is Not His Favorite Number
- It turns out his favorite number is 35. However, former teammate Michael Pineda wore that when Judge was a rookie, so he was forced into taking a random, club-issued number.
- Don’t expect him to switch now, though — he claims 99 has grown on him.
Faith Is a Big Part of His Life
As the background image on his Twitter account, Judge has set the Bible verse from 2 Corinthians 5:7, “For we walk by faith, not by sight."
"Christian. Faith, Family, then Baseball," is how he describes himself on his Twitter bio, followed by, "If what you did yesterday still seems big today, then you haven't done anything today!"
He Isn’t Afraid to Fail
When Judge sees an opportunity at the plate, he swings away. Sometimes, though, his at-bat doesn’t end with him rounding the bases and being splashed by the cheers of tens of thousands of fans.
He actually struck out 208 times last year, which marks the sixth-highest total of all time.
All in all, it’s a life lesson anybody can appreciate: Even the best will experience failure — sometimes more often than you’d think.
Originally, He Wasn’t Drafted by the Yankees
The Oakland Athletics selected Judge, a senior in high school at the time, in the 31st round of the 2010 draft. However, he chose not to sign the franchise because he was steadfast on attending Fresno State for college.
According to NBC Sports Bay Area, Jermaine Clark, the A’s area scout who followed Judge during his high school career, recently dusted off a scouting report: “Big kid with a body to dream on. … Untapped monster.”
Well, they were right about that.
He Is Already in the Record Books
The baseball world watched with awe as Judge cruised through an impressive 2017 campaign — his first full season in the big leagues.
What many might not know is that his 52 home runs broke Mark McGwire’s MLB rookie record of 49 and the Yankees' full-season rookie record of 29 (previously held by Joe DiMaggio).
And Has Another Role With the Yankees…
In addition to playing for the Bronx Bombers, Aaron is also tasked with being the team DJ. That’s right, he brought music and more relaxed vibes to the clubhouse upon being called up from the minor leagues.
According to Judge, "we always played music in the clubhouse when I was in the minors. They didn’t have any music in New York. It was very quiet. We played a song after one of the games. Then it just kind of took off, and I started playing some more music after our wins."