As Spring Training Begins, Aaron Judge Downplays Repeating History

Conor P. Fitzgerald /
Conor P. Fitzgerald /

After breaking Roger Maris’ record of 61 homers, set in 1961, Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge was proud to nail 62 home runs last year, but he knows baseball is a team game and doesn’t focus on himself. “You never know. I don’t really like putting a number on it. I just kind of like going out there and trying to control what I can control, but you never know what could happen. So, we’ll see about 62.”

Re-signing with the team during the off-season for nine years and $360 million, he wants to build on what he got started last year. Last year was fun chasing history and having those moments. Every time we play in New York I feel like you’re chasing history. It’s never a cakewalk in the Bronx, that’s for sure. You have to embrace those challenges.”

It seems like Judge would love to have the postseason from last year back. Despite the 62 homers, a .311 batting average, and 131 RBIs, Judge found himself on a significant drop in the postseason. Going a dismal 1 for 16 (.063), with no homer or RBI, he let the team down in the AL Championships. “It bothers me, and I think it bothers the group as well. Every year we don’t finish what we started, it wears on us in different ways. I think every failure pushes you towards that ultimate goal.”

With no World Series wins since 2009, the Yankees and their fans are rabid for another title. Given the payroll and the talent this team is stacked with, they should have been raking in the wins for the last 30 years. Yet, injuries, bad timing, and bad chemistry have been big problems over the years. Judge has been looking to change that, and with this long contract, he has shown how committed he is to bringing greatness to the city and team once again.