Aaron Judge is the hottest sports attraction in its biggest market: 6 feet 7 inches tall, 282 pounds and enough power to light up New York City. You’re probably already aware the Yankees slugger leads the American League in batting average and home runs and is near the top in RBIs – as a rookie. You probably know he blasted a mammoth 496-foot home run. And you probably know he attended Fresno State for three years.
To quench your thirst for all things Judge, here are 10 things that you probably don’t already know about baseball’s newest superstar.
1. Judge’s adoptive parents, Wayne and Patty, are both retired teachers. (He has never had contact with his biological parents.) Older brother John, also adopted, is an English instructor in South Korea.
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“I feel they kind of picked me,” Judge told the New York Post in 2015. “I feel that God was the one that matched us together.”
2. A three-sport star at Linden High (14 miles east of Stockton), Judge set season and career records for receiving yards and touchdowns. He was recruited to play tight end (by Notre Dame, Stanford and UCLA) but opted to attend college and play baseball.
3. Judge did more than play sports in high school. He graduated with a 3.2 GPA, spent two years on student council and performed community service. His favorite? Picking up garbage from campus with his basketball teammates.
“That was one of my favorite things to do,” Judge told The (Stockton) Record in 2010. “We all got up real early, had breakfast and walked around the community picking up garbage. We had a lot of fun. It was a good bonding experience.”
22home runs for Aaron Judge in 2017, which is leading the major leagues
18 home runs for Aaron Judge in his Fresno State career (2011-13)
4. Before arriving at Fresno State, Judge was selected by the Oakland A’s in the 30th round of the 2010 amateur draft. Three years later, the Yankees picked him No. 32 overall.
5. Judge’s major league-leading 22 home runs (with the latest blast coming Monday night) are four more than his career total at Fresno State. In fact, Judge stole twice as many bases (36) as he hit home runs (18) while wearing a Bulldogs uniform.
6. The day before the Yankees selected him, Judge attended the 2013 draft in New York City and felt a bit overwhelmed with so many people, cars and tall buildings surrounding him.
“It’s too busy, seems hectic,” Judge told The Bee. “I’m not sure I could ever live here.”
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7. Judge is the second Yankee ever to wear No. 99 during the regular season. The number was not his personal choice. It was handed to Judge when he reached the majors in 2016. Judge wore No. 29 with the Bulldogs.
8. Judge is one of only seven major-league hitters since 2000 to stand at least 6-7. Why so rare? Because tall hitters have a large strike zone and trouble controlling and replicating their swing.
“You don’t see guys his size get an extended period of time in the big leagues,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “The list is very small.”
9. Judge has a “weird” bubble gum superstition during games, which he explains in this video.
10. Judge’s home Yankees jersey (with pinstripes) is a hot seller at Fresno-area sports apparel stores. Johnny P., assistant manager at Sports Station in Fashion Fair Mall, said he has sold “about three dozen” over the last few weeks and just as many Judge T-shirts.
“He’s gotten popular once people remembered he was from the Valley,” P. said.