Aaron Judge is living his best life as the face of baseball. From breaking all different types of records to having a section in the right field dubbed the “Judge’s Chambers,” it feels like we do not know a lot about his personality as he lives a quiet and reserved life off of the field. Today, we are going to be discussing some facts that might not be known to even some of the avid Aaron Judge fans.
Aaron Judge’s presence and ability both in the outfield and at the plate make the New York Yankees MLB World Series odds even higher than they would normally be. Let’s dive into the impending free agent-to-be and see some interesting facts you might not know about him.
Why He Wears Number 99
One of the coolest things about Judge is the fact he wears an unconventional jersey number in 99. This number has been worn by the likes of Wayne Gretzky and a bunch of former and current NFL players like Aaron Donald, JJ Watt, and Warren Sapp. There have been a few MLB players to wear the jersey as well, such as Manny Ramirez and Hyun-Jin Ryu. However, none of those players have been the reason why Judge chose number 99.
There have been 15 MLB players in history to wear number 99 before Judge. When interviewed by Randy Miller of NJ.com about his choice of jersey number, Judge stated the Yankees gave it to him in Spring Training. People assumed he would want 44 as his Twitter handle is @TheJudge44, but Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson has that number retired from the New York Yankees.
However, his favorite number is 35, but right-handed pitcher Michael Pineda had it with the team when Judge was called up and has stuck with the 99 jerseys ever since, even after Pineda left the team.
Now, it is ludicrous to imagine Judge wearing another number, as 99 has become synonymous with the huge outfielder.
Aaron Judge Almost Wasn’t A Yankee?
When you are 6’7”, you are going to be good at other sports as well, and Judge definitely was as he was recruited by schools such as UCLA, Stanford, and Notre Dame to play tight end for their programs, but Judge decided to continue playing baseball and signed with Fresno State. However, football was not the only reason he almost did not become a Yankee as in the 2010 MLB Draft, the Oakland Athletics drafted Judge in the 31st round, but Judge decided to go to college instead.
It definitely worked out in his favor as he stayed in college for three years and eventually was selected in the first round, but that pick originally was not with the New York Yankees.
The MLB Draft is weird as all 30 teams have a first-round selection, and then there are compensatory picks for teams that place a qualifying offer to a free agent and the player signs with another team. Outfielder Nick Swisher decided to reject a one-year, $13.3 million offer and joined the Cleveland Indians in the offseason. The Yankees received the 32nd pick in the MLB Draft as a result and thus Aaron Judge was selected.
Superstition on the Field
Baseball players are some of the most superstitious people on the planet, and Aaron Judge is no exception as, before the first pitch, he puts two pieces of Dubble Bubble sugar-free gum in his mouth. He will chew on the same two pieces of gum until he makes an out and has done this since playing collegiate ball at Fresno State.
“Hopefully, by the end of the night, I have a nasty, old, unflavored piece of gum in my mouth.”
It is definitely not a superstition that I have ever heard of before, but it definitely has seemed to work as he is now the all-time American League regular season home run record holder and is about to make a lot of money as he officially becomes a free agent after this legendary season.