© Chuck Duboff
They are the New York Yankees. A history like no other team. Winners of 27 World Series. You think of the great New York Yankees and the list is the whose who of the baseball greats. The Babe, Babe Ruth…The Iron Horse, Lou Gehrig…Joe D, Joe DiMaggio…the Mick, Mickey Mantle, the Captain, Derek Jeter. These Yankee greats set records and helped the Yankees become the storied franchise that they are.
It was in 1936, 81 years ago, that Joe DiMaggio broke into the Majors with the New York Yankees; during that memorable season, Joe D homered 29 teams to set the New York Yankee record for Home Runs by a rookie. That record has held up for 8 decades.
It’s 2017 and along has come a rookie who has broken Joe DiMaggio’s record in just 84 games. Last evening, 25 year old Aaron Judge hit his 30th home run of the season. Think about that for a moment. 30 home runs in 84 games. For 81 years no Yankee has come close to Joe D’s record, yet, young Aaron Judge, a humble, courteous, team first player, has not only broken the record, but is on a pace to set all sorts of records.
When a young player has his name mentioned in the same breath as Joe DiMaggio, you know you have got a special player. Judge has made tremendous adjustments at the plate; no longer is he swinging at bad pitches. He is leading the Majors in taking pitchers to a full count. He has a .333 batting average and leads the Majors with 66 RBI’s. He leads the Majors with 12 Home Runs over 430 feet. Yet it was one home run, a 495 foot bomb, which captured the imagination of Yankee Nation,
Yankees broadcaster Jon Sterling called it the best: “A Judgian Home Run”…495 feet!! That is the kind of Home Run that brings back memories of Mickey Mantle crushing them and the Babe with his “Ruthian Home Runs.” Judge has crept into the annals of Yankee lore and with his mammoth Home Runs he has become must see At Bat every time he gets to the plate. Upon hitting that 495 foot Home Run, Topps baseball cards, rushed out this card celebrating that Home Run….and being the Yankee fan that I am, I ordered it and it arrived just yesterday:
When I saw the package in the mailbox, I felt like the little kid whose boy hood hero was Mickey Mantle. Here it is, some 56 years later and Aaron Judge has made me feel like a little kid again. I had the good fortune of watching him tie Joe DiMaggio’s record along with my grandchildren Laine and Ben. I jumped up in the air when I saw it going to deep centre field…the reaction by the kids was special…they had never seen the little boy in me..and getting to watch Yankee history with them was so very special.
Managers may come up with ways to pitch Judge; pitchers may find a weak spot in his swing…and he may still go into protracted slumps…but, for the first 3 1/2 months of the season, 25 year old Aaron Judge, has added him self to the New York Yankee record book and brought electricity and excitement back to New York Yankees baseball.