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Aaron Judge
Getty Images / Mike Carlson / Stringer

Aaron Judge

Biography
Athlete (1992–)
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Baseball slugger Aaron Judge hit an American League-record 62 home runs for the New York Yankees in 2022.

Who Is Aaron Judge?

One of the largest men ever to play Major League Baseball, Aaron James Judge showcased his jaw-dropping power by hitting a rookie record 52 home runs for the New York Yankees in 2017. Following a few injury-plagued seasons, he riveted the sports world by smashing an American League-record 62 home runs in 2022. The superstar athlete also devotes time to helping children through his ALL RISE Foundation.

How Big Is Aaron Judge?

Judge is listed at 6'7" and 282 pounds, making him one of the largest players in Major League Baseball history.

How Old Is Aaron Judge?

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

Parents and Ethnicity

Judge was adopted by schoolteachers Wayne and Patty Judge the day after he was born. His biological parents and ethnic background are publicly unknown, though he is described as being "biracial." Wayne and Patty also have an adopted older son, John.

Early Years and High School

Raised in a tiny northern California town previously known for its annual cherry festival, Judge has always stood out for his exceptional size.

"We kind of joked that he looked like the Michelin Tire baby," his father told the New York Post in 2015. "It wasn't long before the 4 ounces of formula was just the appetizer, and it had to be the formula with the oatmeal to pacify him."

The combination of premier physical gifts and a strong work ethic helped Judge become a three-sport star at Linden High School. During his senior year, he set school records with 17 touchdowns and 969 receiving yards for the football team; averaged 18 points and 12 rebounds per game in basketball; and produced a .500 batting average to go with a 0.88 ERA for the Mother Lode League-champion baseball team. Away from the playing fields, he served on the student council for two years and volunteered at his local church.

By the end of high school, Judge rebuffed opportunities to play football for Stanford University, UCLA and Notre Dame in order to focus on baseball. And while he was picked in the 31st round of the 2010 Major League Baseball draft by the Oakland Athletics, he elected to continue his education and amateur development at California State University, Fresno.

College and Minors

Judge performed well in his first two seasons for the Fresno State Bulldogs, earning selection to the All-Western Athletic Conference Team both times. However, his massive in-game power had yet to materialize, as he hit just six home runs over that time.

Things began to change after Judge’s sophomore year when he dazzled the competition with his gargantuan hits in the summer Cape Cod League, which brought together the nation’s top collegiate players. That year, he also won the TD Ameritrade College Baseball Home Run Derby.

Back at Fresno State, Judge earned all-conference honors for the third straight season after posting an impressive .461 on-base percentage with team highs in home runs (12), doubles (15) and RBIs (36). Afterward, he was the 32nd overall pick of the 2013 draft selected by the New York Yankees, who sealed the deal with a $1.8 million signing bonus.

Held out of the remainder of the 2013 season because of a quadriceps injury, Judge hit well in the lower levels of the Yankees organization the following year. His steady progression led to an appearance in the 2015 All-Star Futures Game, and by the close of the season, he was with the organization's top minor league team, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.

After batting .270 with 19 home runs in 93 games for the RailRiders in 2016, Judge was summoned to join the Yankees in the Bronx that August.

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2017 AL Rookie of the Year

Wearing the unusually large jersey number 99, Judge kicked off his Major League career in impressive fashion by homering in his first two games for the Yankees. However, opposing pitchers soon figured out his weaknesses, and Judge's batting average fell to .179 by the time an oblique injury ended his 2016 season in September.

Judge didn’t play his first full MLB season until 2017, when he came roaring back with 10 early home runs to earn the American League Rookie of the Month Award for April. By May, after fans began arriving at games in judges' robes and wigs, the team erected the "Judge's Chambers" in Yankee Stadium behind the superstar's customary position in right field.

Popular well beyond New York City, Judge accumulated the most All-Star votes of any American League player after an outstanding first half season. He seized the moment by winning the Home Run Derby against several other top sluggers.

After seeing the strikeouts pile up during a rough August, Judge rebounded to smash Mark McGwire's rookie record of 49 home runs in late September. He finished the year with a league-leading 52 home runs, 128 runs and 127 walks, numbers that resulted in a unanimous AL Rookie of the Year selection and a second-place showing for the Most Valuable Player Award.

Home Runs and Injuries

After blasting 25 home runs in the first half of 2018 to earn his second straight All-Star berth, Judge hit a home run off Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer in the midsummer showcase. However, he sustained a fractured wrist after getting hit by a pitch in late July, knocking him out of action until the final weeks of the season.

A left oblique strain limited the slugger to just 102 games in 2019, although he still hit 27 home runs and earned a Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award for his strong defense in right field. The following year, he hit seven home runs in his first 10 games after MLB's COVID-delayed start to the season, only to be derailed by a strained calf that twice forced him to the injured list.

Judge finally turned the page in 2021 by remaining healthy, save for a midseason bout of COVID. A slight dip in his power numbers was offset by a decrease in strikeouts and his improved contact skills, or his ability to make contact with the ball at bat. This was highlighted by the game-winning single that propelled the Yankees into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season. Overall, Judge hit a then-career best .287 in 2021, along with 39 home runs, resulting in his second Silver Slugger Award and a fourth-place finish in the MVP voting.

Record-Breaking 2022 Season

Entering the final year of his rookie contract, Judge made headlines in April 2022 by rejecting a seven-year, $213.5 million contract extension from the Yankees—an offer that fell well below the exorbitant salaries paid to fellow superstars like Mike Trout and Mookie Betts.

It appeared to be a wise bet as the slugger started launching home runs at a rate rarely seen in the game's history. He slammed 12 homers in May, 11 in June and another 13 in July, becoming the runaway winner in the All-Star voting with almost 400,000 votes more than runner-up Mike Trout. And while the Yankees struggled during the midsummer months, Judge nearly single-handedly kept them in first place with his stellar defense at center field and his lofty .311 batting average.

Judge matched the legendary Babe Ruth with his 60th home run on September 20 before tying Roger Maris' 61-year-old American League record with homer No. 61 on September 28. Six days later, he finally had the AL record to himself (Barry Bonds holds the MLB record with 73 home runs) by swatting a leadoff blast in the Yankees' penultimate game of the regular season.

Along with his 62 home runs, Judge fell just short of the batting title with his .311 average, tied for the Major League lead with 131 RBIs, and led all players in runs (133), on-base percentage (.425) and slugging percentage, the rate of total bases per at-bat (.686), in his memorable 2022 season.

Wife

While Judge keeps a close lid on his private life despite playing in the New York City spotlight, the media eventually got wind of his relationship with high school sweetheart Samantha Bracksieck. After falling out of touch for a few years, the two reportedly revived their romance in 2019, before marrying in Hawaii in December 2021.

ALL RISE Foundation

In 2018, Judge launched the ALL RISE Foundation to encourage children to "become responsible citizens." Among its numerous initiatives, the foundation sponsors a leadership development program for students, awards grants to select communities and hosts a series of baseball camps.

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