Aaron Judge went into spring training trying to prove a point and take a job. A storybook season for the ages followed, as the 25-year-old rookie slugger became arguably the face of baseball, redefining the Statcast era by hitting balls harder and farther into orbit than any his contemporaries. No. 99’s at-bats quickly became must-see TV. His home runs — and there were an AL-high and MLB rookie-record 52 of them in all — were often astounding. One went into the third deck at Citi Field. Another went 495 feet over the left-field bleachers at Yankee Stadium. A third even traveled so far at Safeco Field — it didn’t register on the tracker. And that’s not to mention a fourth that exited his bat with a velocity of 121.1 mph. “He’s judge and jury. And this is judgment day,” John Sterling would say on the radio when Judge belted one out of the ballpark. All Rise, indeed. But the 6-foot-7, 282-pound, larger-than-life Judge was so much more than his titanic blasts. And for that reason he was an easy choice as our NY Sportsperson of the Year for 2017. The adopted son of recently retired school teachers Patty and Wayne Judge who grew up in small-town Linden, Calif., played the game the right way, said all the right things, created forever moments for fans in the stands, and even made the Yankees — yes, the “Evil Empire” Yankees — likable again. Broken records in the Bronx — like most homers by a Yankee rookie and most homers by a Yankee at home — regularly put him in the same sentences as Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle. How he carried himself both on and off the field and his leadership potential prompted comparisons to Jeter.
Aaron Judge’s meteoric rise made him toast of town and sparked Yankee revival
Boston Herald | Jan 2