04 Aug Getting to Know Aaron Judge
Aaron Judge homered for the fifth consecutive game Sunday, becoming the first New York Yankees player in 13 years to accomplish the feat. The big slugger connected off left-handed reliever Matt Hall in the second inning, sending a three-run drive off the second deck in left field at Yankee Stadium to give New York a 3-2 lead over the Boston Red Sox. Judge went deep again in the eighth, blasting a two-run shot off Matt Barnes to give the Yankees their final two runs in a 9-7 win. Judge, who used the coronavirus hiatus to rehab a fractured first right rib and subsequent punctured lung, entered the shortened season with a clean bill of health and has been on fire since the season began.
Name: Aaron James Judge
Drafted: 32nd pick of the first year player draft in 2013
Big-league debut: Aug. 13, 2016
Born: April 26, 1992 (age 28 years), Linden, CA
Height: 6’ 7”
Weight: 230 lbs
Favorite Actor: Denzel Washington
How do you deal with the pressure of playing in New York? I’ve been blessed, not only this year but the past couple of years, with playing on some pretty good teams. I got a chance to play with Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino all these guys. So for us, like, we really don’t feel the pressure. We know that the guy in front of us or behind us, if we don’t get the job done, will come through and get it done for us, so it kind of takes a load off everybody.
Boyhood idol? I have a lot of favorite players that I’ve watched over the years. Alex Rodriguez. Matt Holliday. Derek Jeter, he’s another one, is such a class act, and I got a chance to meet him as well. When I was in the West Coast watching the Giants, Rich Aurilia was a guy I always liked.
If you could pick the brain of one hitter in baseball history, who would you want to sit down with? Willie Mays & Reggie Jackson. Reggie Jackson was always one that I always wanted to kind of meet and get to know, and I’ve had a chance these past couple of years to get to know him and pick his brain.
Who are athletes in other sports you admire? Michael Jordan. Blake Griffin. My dad played junior college basketball, and he always showed me clips of Michael Jordan. He’s just a competitor, man, he’s gonna go out there and beat you any way he can.
How did you get the number 99? When I walked into Yankee stadium for the first time that was the number they gave me. No real story. (When Aaron came to the majors, he prefered to wear No. 44 but it was retired by the Yankees to honor Reggie Jackson or No. 35 worn by former pitcher Michael Pineda from 2014-17).
Hobbies? Video games. This past offseason I kind of tried to learn the piano a little bit. Haven’t played it recently, but I’m getting there, hopefully this offseason I’ll make some strides, hopefully.
Superstitions? Gum and seeds, yeah. Chewing seeds in the outfield and when I’m hitting, I usually take two pieces of the Double Bubble or whatever they have, and if I get on base, I’ll hold onto it. If I get out, I just throw it out and start with a new piece.
Three dinner guests? My parents, Dr. Martin Luther King.
What does it mean to you to be a New York Yankee? To put on the pinstripe – it’s extraordinary. Just being able to play one game with the Yankees is quite an honor. I know I wouldn’t be a New York Yankee if it wasn’t for my mom: 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.
What message would you want to give Yankees fans? It’s an exciting time to be not only a Yankee, but be a Yankee fan. The system that we have here, the minor leaguers that we have, and a lot of acquisitions we’re doing, we’re gonna have a pretty bright future ahead of us, and I’m looking forward to it, but just gotta keep working hard.