Sports How Aaron Judge rose to become the face of the Yankees and baseball's newest home run-hitting star

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Aaron Judge's rookie year has included record breaking performances and his very own fan section at Yankee Stadium.

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(Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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Yankees rookie phenom Aaron Judge has been one of the most compelling stories in baseball this season as no rookie in MLB history has ever hit more home runs.

Standing 6-foot-7 and weighing 282 pounds, Judge is already the largest position player to ever take the field and he cemented his status as a household name when he won the All-Star Game Home Run Derby in convincing fashion.

Despite his current high profile, Judge didn’t come into the league as highly touted as many other recent young breakout stars have.

Below, we'll take you through Judge's meteoric rise as one of the most must-watch players in Major League Baseball.

Aaron Judge was born on April 26, 1992 in Linden, California.

Aaron Judge was born on April 26, 1992 in Linden, California. play

Aaron Judge was born on April 26, 1992 in Linden, California.

(Google Maps)


The day after his birth, Aaron was adopted by his parents — two teachers, Patty and Wayne Judge. Aaron credits his mother with much of his success, and claims he wouldn't be a Yankee without her. "She's molded me into the person that I am today."

[Source: MLB.com]



Growing up, Judge attended Linden High School, where he was a three-sport athlete playing football, basketball, and baseball.

#tbt with my buddy @j3boz

A post shared by Aaron Judge (@thejudge44) on



To say he was good in all three sports would be an understatement.

To say he was good in all three sports would be an understatement. play

To say he was good in all three sports would be an understatement.

(Yes Network)


While he was recruited as a football player by colleges and drafted by the Oakland A's, Judge elected to play baseball at Fresno State. In 2012 he would go on to win the College Home Run Derby, a preview of the power he would eventually bring to the majors.

While he was recruited as a football player by colleges and drafted by the Oakland A's, Judge elected to play baseball at Fresno State. In 2012 he would go on to win the College Home Run Derby, a preview of the power he would eventually bring to the majors. play

While he was recruited as a football player by colleges and drafted by the Oakland A's, Judge elected to play baseball at Fresno State. In 2012 he would go on to win the College Home Run Derby, a preview of the power he would eventually bring to the majors.

(rkyosh007/YouTube)


In 2013, Aaron Judge was selected in the first round by the New York Yankees. He was the 32nd pick overall.

In 2013, Aaron Judge was selected in the first round by the New York Yankees. He was the 32nd pick overall. play

In 2013, Aaron Judge was selected in the first round by the New York Yankees. He was the 32nd pick overall.

(New York Yankees/YouTube)


Once within the Yankees organization, Judge spent three years in the minor leagues, starting with the Charleston Riverdogs and working his way up through the Trenton Thunder and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.

What a great win for the home opener tonight!! #GoRiverdogs @michaeloneill_10

A post shared by Aaron Judge (@thejudge44) on



On August 13, 2016, Judge made his major league debut in a day game against the Tampa Bay Rays. His performance would give Yankee fans a taste of what was to come this season.

On August 13, 2016, Judge made his major league debut in a day game against the Tampa Bay Rays. His performance would give Yankee fans a taste of what was to come this season. play

On August 13, 2016, Judge made his major league debut in a day game against the Tampa Bay Rays. His performance would give Yankee fans a taste of what was to come this season.

(Elsa/Getty Images)


After fellow rookie Tyler Austin hit a home run in his first career at bat, Judge went up to the plate and did the same, giving the Yankees back-to-back homers that served as a sign of a bright future.



While Judge was quiet for most of the rest of 2016, he has been an absolute sensation so far in his first full year in the majors, leading the American League in batting average, home runs, and slugging percentage.

While Judge was quiet for most of the rest of 2016, he has been an absolute sensation so far in his first full year in the majors, leading the American League in batting average, home runs, and slugging percentage. play

While Judge was quiet for most of the rest of 2016, he has been an absolute sensation so far in his first full year in the majors, leading the American League in batting average, home runs, and slugging percentage.

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)


Behind the power of his bat, the Yankees sit atop the AL East standings and can be considered serious contenders for a playoff run when October arrives.

Behind the power of his bat, the Yankees sit atop the AL East standings and can be considered serious contenders for a playoff run when October arrives. play

Behind the power of his bat, the Yankees sit atop the AL East standings and can be considered serious contenders for a playoff run when October arrives.

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)


Judge's power is impressive not only because of it's consistency, but because of it's sheer force. He's shown an ability to do things to a baseball the likes of which we have never seen before.

Judge's power is impressive not only because of it's consistency, but because of it's sheer force. He's shown an ability to do things to a baseball the likes of which we have never seen before. play

Judge's power is impressive not only because of it's consistency, but because of it's sheer force. He's shown an ability to do things to a baseball the likes of which we have never seen before.

(Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)


Case in point, in early June, Judge hit a 495-foot home run — the longest since ESPN began tracking distances in 2009. The dinger set a record for exit velocity in the Statcast era, according to MLB.com, coming off his bat at 121 mph.



But Judge is not a one-trick pony. He's shown a deftness in the outfield that you wouldn't at first expect out of a 6'7", 282 pound man.

But Judge is not a one-trick pony. He's shown a deftness in the outfield that you wouldn't at first expect out of a 6'7", 282 pound man. play

But Judge is not a one-trick pony. He's shown a deftness in the outfield that you wouldn't at first expect out of a 6'7", 282 pound man.

(Elsa/Getty Images)


Judge wears number 99, and is just the 17th player to wear it in the history of the majors. But it wasn't his first choice.

Judge wears number 99, and is just the 17th player to wear it in the history of the majors. But it wasn't his first choice. play

Judge wears number 99, and is just the 17th player to wear it in the history of the majors. But it wasn't his first choice.

(Rich Schultz/Getty Images)


"My favorite always has been 35," Judge told NJ Advance Media, but that number is already taken by teammate Michael Pineda. Judge's twitter handle, @TheJudge44, shows off another number he's quite fond of, but New York has already retired 44 honor of Yankee great Reggie Jackson.

"My favorite always has been 35," Judge told NJ Advance Media, but that number is already taken by teammate Michael Pineda. Judge's twitter handle, @TheJudge44, shows off another number he's quite fond of, but New York has already retired 44 honor of Yankee great Reggie Jackson. play

"My favorite always has been 35," Judge told NJ Advance Media, but that number is already taken by teammate Michael Pineda. Judge's twitter handle, @TheJudge44, shows off another number he's quite fond of, but New York has already retired 44 honor of Yankee great Reggie Jackson.

(Elsa/Getty Images)

[Source: NJ.com]



While Judge won't get Reggie Jackson's number, he does have his blessing. In an interview with ESPN, Mr. October compared Judge to the likes of Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell and Willie McCovey, saying the young slugger has the potential to become "the next great Yankee."

While Judge won't get Reggie Jackson's number, he does have his blessing. In an interview with ESPN, Mr. October compared Judge to the likes of Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell and Willie McCovey, saying the young slugger has the potential to become "the next great Yankee." play

While Judge won't get Reggie Jackson's number, he does have his blessing. In an interview with ESPN, Mr. October compared Judge to the likes of Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell and Willie McCovey, saying the young slugger has the potential to become "the next great Yankee."

(Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

[Source: ESPN]



Jackson was also extremely impressed with Judge's character. "A gentle giant," as Jackson described him. "A sweetheart. A nice young man. He has significant inner strength and confidence. He has a humble presence."

Jackson was also extremely impressed with Judge's character. "A gentle giant," as Jackson described him. "A sweetheart. A nice young man. He has significant inner strength and confidence. He has a humble presence." play

Jackson was also extremely impressed with Judge's character. "A gentle giant," as Jackson described him. "A sweetheart. A nice young man. He has significant inner strength and confidence. He has a humble presence."

(Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

[Source: ESPN]



A devout Christian, his character and humbleness in the face of great success stems from his faith and the supportive upbringing his parents provided him. "I'm blessed," Judge said of his adoptive mother and father. "I feel that God was the one that matched us together."

A devout Christian, his character and humbleness in the face of great success stems from his faith and the supportive upbringing his parents provided him. "I'm blessed," Judge said of his adoptive mother and father. "I feel that God was the one that matched us together." play

A devout Christian, his character and humbleness in the face of great success stems from his faith and the supportive upbringing his parents provided him. "I'm blessed," Judge said of his adoptive mother and father. "I feel that God was the one that matched us together."

(Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

[Source: NY Post]



With both his stellar play on the field and his gracious personality, Judge has quickly become a favorite among Yankee supporters. Many agree with Jackson's assessment that the home-grown talent could become the next great life-long Yankee.

With both his stellar play on the field and his gracious personality, Judge has quickly become a favorite among Yankee supporters. Many agree with Jackson's assessment that the home-grown talent could become the next great life-long Yankee. play

With both his stellar play on the field and his gracious personality, Judge has quickly become a favorite among Yankee supporters. Many agree with Jackson's assessment that the home-grown talent could become the next great life-long Yankee.

(Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)


Fans have even started their own cheering section for the new star — "The Judge's Chamber" — in Yankee Stadium, filled with fans wearing robes emblazoned with the Yankee logo. In August, avid Yankee fan and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor joined the cheering section for a game.

Fans have even started their own cheering section for the new star — "The Judge's Chamber" — in Yankee Stadium, filled with fans wearing robes emblazoned with the Yankee logo. In August, avid Yankee fan and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor joined the cheering section for a game. play

Fans have even started their own cheering section for the new star — "The Judge's Chamber" — in Yankee Stadium, filled with fans wearing robes emblazoned with the Yankee logo. In August, avid Yankee fan and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor joined the cheering section for a game.

(Al Bello/Getty Images)

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Having already won the AL Rookie of the Month award in both April and May, Judge seems like a lock for Rookie of the Year, and is even getting some MVP buzz from around the league.

Having already won the AL Rookie of the Month award in both April and May, Judge seems like a lock for Rookie of the Year, and is even getting some MVP buzz from around the league. play

Having already won the AL Rookie of the Month award in both April and May, Judge seems like a lock for Rookie of the Year, and is even getting some MVP buzz from around the league.

(Elsa/Getty Images)


On Monday, September 25, Judge hit his 49th and 50th home runs of the year, breaking Mark McGwire's 28-year-old record and further helping his case for AL MVP.

On Monday, September 25, Judge hit his 49th and 50th home runs of the year, breaking Mark McGwire's 28-year-old record and further helping his case for AL MVP. play

On Monday, September 25, Judge hit his 49th and 50th home runs of the year, breaking Mark McGwire's 28-year-old record and further helping his case for AL MVP.

(Adam Hunger/Getty Images)

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While we don't know what this postseason holds for the Bronx Bombers, with Aaron Judge at the heart of their lineup, the Yankees are potentially set up for success for years to come.

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(Jamie Squire/Getty Images)


Now check out how big Judge really is.

Now check out how big Judge really is. play

Now check out how big Judge really is.

(Chris O'Meara/AP)

15 pictures of Aaron Judge making other players look tiny