New York Yankee Profiles: Aaron Judge the man, and his blistering 2021 season

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge
Oct 19, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) reacts after striking out in the fourth inning against the Houston Astros in game six of the 2019 ALCS playoff baseball series at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankee’s slugger Aaron Judge burst onto the Major League scene in 2017.  He played in 155 games, getting 52 home runs and hitting .284 with 114 RBIs. He was heralded at the new Yankee Star, the new Mickey Mantle. He was a Silver Slugger, Rookie of the Year, All-Star, and came in second in the MVP voting. However, with all of those accolades, he was never the same again.

From 2018 to 2020, Judge was riddled with a myriad of injuries keeping him off the field and from performing. During those three years, he played only an average of 80 games a season. His home runs were gone, and his strikeouts stood out. He never could regain his 2017 form.

Fast forward to the 2021 season; a new healthy Aaron Judge appeared on the stage at Yankee Stadium. He has played in 114 games missing only 14 games. He has been the most dependable and consistent player this season. He will not reach the 52 home runs in 2017, but he does have 28 so far and his highest (.291) batting average of his career.  He hits some runs, singles, doubles, and gets on base. His .383 OBP is the best since 2017. Plain and simple, he has carried the Yankees on his back even during the horrid first half of the season.

Now that the Yankees have won 14 consecutive games and are making a run at beating the Tampa Bay Rays for the division win, Judge is at his hottest. For August, he is hitting .330 and has an OPS of 1.021. Last night he had a 3 run homer and was responsible for four of the Yankees’ 8 runs. The Yankees can only hope this will continue into September and during the postseason.

Here is some useful information to get you to know the man Aaron Judge. On April 27, 1992, Wayne and Patty Judge adopted an African American biracial baby a day after he was born; that baby was Aaron Judge. When Judge was old enough to understand, his parents told him, he was adopted.

Growing up in California, Judge was a San Francisco Giants fan. Judge attended Linden High School, where he was a three-sport star. He played as a pitcher and first baseman for the baseball team, a wide receiver for the football team, and a basketball team center. He set a school record for touchdowns (17) in football and led the basketball team in points per game (18.2). In addition, he was part of the Linden High School team that made the California Interscholastic Federation Division III playoffs in baseball.

You can imagine with this sports record that Judge was heavily recruited by teams like Notre Dame, Stanford, and ULCA as a tight end, but Judge wanted to play baseball. He was selected in the 2010 draft by Oakland but wanted to attend college instead. He played for Fresno State, where he was named a Freshman All-American. In 2012 he won the TD Ameritrade College home run, Derby. During the summer of 2012, he played for the Brewster White Caps of the Cape Cod League. This is where I may have seen him play and when he was drafted #1 by the New York Yankees. In his junior year with Fresno, he led the team in home runs, doubles, and RBI’s. In 2013 the Yankees selected him in the draft, and he signed with the Yankees for a 1.8 million signing bonus. He joined the team but was injured in running drills that kept him out of the season.

So what have we learned about that superstar Aaron Judge?  Obviously, he’s a star baseball player, but he also loves football especially watching the playoff games.  He loves his friends and fellow players; he instead praises a fellow player than talk about himself.  He loves dogs and is a big fan of children that love baseball. He is more profound than many may think.  His Twitter header carries the Corinthians  “For we live by faith, not by sight.”  His very first post reads as follows: 

Christian. Faith, Family, then Baseball. “If what you did yesterday still seems big today, then you haven’t done anything today!”

Judge loves children. He makes every attempt to greet them to sign baseballs and give them his gloves, bat, or cap. He frequently pulls them from the stands so their parents can get a photo of their child with the Yankee star. Many would feel that doing this was a chore but watching Judge; you can tell he loves it, even seeking out young Yankee fans in away parks. It is not uncommon to see him play catch with young New York Yankee fans when there is a play pause.

Aaron Judge has a long-time girlfriend, Samantha Bracksieck that was a high school sweetheart. They went on to attend Fresno State University together. Bracksieck earned a graduate degree in exercise science and is an aspiring professor. Recently Judge got a gut punch when she made a bad decision and was arrested for a DUI infraction.

Even though Bracksieck was involved in this arrest, those who know her well know that she is a down-to-earth person and are in full support of her and Aaron Judge. Bracksieck received a care package from Luke Voit’s wife Tori and Jonathan Holder’s wife, Nicole.

Simply put, this hulk of a man is a softy and of high moral values that cherish being a Yankee and all that that involves. Below is a video of some of the many times Aaron Judge has reached out to his youngest admirers.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research.  Follow me on Twitter @parleewilliam.