© Chuck Duboff
My earliest memories of the New York Yankees goes back to 1961. At that time it was just black and white TV and just one game on Saturday afternoon. CBS owned the New York Yankees and every Saturday afternoon it was the Bronx Bombers…featuring Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris; and that is how I became a New York Yankees fan.
There was no social media at that time. You got the newspaper late in the afternoon with the previous days box score. But, those box scores were inhaled…additionally, I had a subscription to the Sporting News, which I somehow made last for a week, until the next week’s edition was delivered.
I wanted to be Mickey Mantle. The powerful arms, the swing, the good looks…that New York Yankees uniform…and in 1961 it was the Mick and Rogah going for 61 in 61. Oh how I wish I was living in New York city at that time, to experience the excitement of that race. I was cheering for the Mick…but, even more significantly that season…I became a New York Yankees fan for life.
One regret I have had over the years, was reading biographies of the Mick…and what a terrible father he was to his boys. On his deathbed he expressed his regrets for how he had been with them. He lived a life of drinking and partying…and had he taken care of himself the way athletes do today, who knows what kind of father he could have been and what he would have done as a baseball player.
Fast forward 56 years and the summer of 2017. Aaron Judge. 52 Home Runs as a rookie!! 114 RBI’s!! I can truly say that at times I felt like that little kid again…but, 56 years later I was able to watch every home run, watch his pre and post game interviews and read copious quantities of articles about the great young man that he is. I will never forget sitting with my grandchildren Laine and Ben as we watched him hit #30 and break Joe DiMaggio’s record for home runs by a New York Yankees rookie. Don’t think the kids have ever seen me cheer like that. We watched the Home Run Derby together, as Judge crushed one 500 ft home run after another. I watched as Judge handled himself with grace during a post all star game slump. Never complaining, just talking about his team. This past Monday afternoon I watched as Aaron first tied Mark McGwire with #49 and then I let out a huge YES as he crushed # 50. What was even more exciting than watching number 50, was the manner in which Judge carried himself in the post game press conference…he wouldn’t talk about himself, only about his team mates and team; the closest he came to talking about himself was saying “I’m very blessed”. Athletes from every sport could learn a lesson about humility and class from this young man.
Michael Kaye calls another monster home run by Judge.
I felt like a kid again watching Aaron Judge this summer. If he never does anything again, I can say I felt the Yankee magic again. Listening to Michael Kay and John Sterling call Judge home runs was such a treat…”track, wall, see ya…another monster home run for Aaron Judge” Michael Kay; “It is long, it is far, it is out of here!! Oh my, another Judgian Home Run” John Sterling
I got back to collecting baseball cards again Aaron, and for that I thank you. I have five of your cards now and they will sit proudly beside my Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris autographs…one day, your autograph will be right beside those two legends.