Yankees Captain Aaron Judge to Be Immortalized With Top Honor Despite a Horrific 2023 Season

Published 10/22/2023, 4:09 AM EDT

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New York Yankees superstar outfielder Aaron Judge has had a rollercoaster of a year. Starting out strong, injuries impeded the captain, adversely affecting his season. In his absence, the Bronx Bombers imploded, struggling to stay afloat. Although they managed to beat the Boston Red Sox for the fourth AL East spot, 2023 was still disastrous for the Pinstripers. But the captain is ending the year with a belated recognition from his time in red and navy.

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Although the Bronx selected Judge in 2013, instead of debuting in Pinstripes in 2016, the slugger may have done it in green and gold. But instead of going the MLB route, the outfielder snubbed the Oakland Athletics for another West Coast team to develop his skills. This offseason, no. 99 is going back to his no. 29 days.

Fresno State Set to Bestow Rare Honor on Yankees Captain Aaron Judge

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Aaron Judge played baseball for the Fresno State Bulldogs from 2011-2013, establishing himself as one of the school’s all-time greats. The school announced on Wednesday that they will honor Judge during their November 18th football game, officially hanging up #29 in the rafters.

Rather than choosing Oakland, he drove two hours to Fresno from Linden. “I wasn’t ready to face the world yet. I needed to go to college. I needed to mature,” Judge told David Fischer in his book Aaron Judge: The Incredible Story of the New York Yankees’ Home Run–Hitting Phenom.

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As a Bulldog, Judge was a dominant force in the lineup. Named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American and WAC Freshman of the Year in 2011, he won the TD Ameritrade College Baseball Home Run Derby in 2012. He blasted an impressive 16 home runs over three rounds of the event. Judge became the first male athlete to represent the Mountain West Conference with Fresno. In his three seasons at Fresno State, Judge hit .345 with 18 homers and 109 RBIs in 169 career games.

The captain can look back on his college days to a better time, even if 2023 hasn’t gone too well for the Yankees. As the cherry on top, Fresno State’s revered coach is receiving a similar distinction.

Judge Will Stand Shoulder-to-Shoulder With Coach Batesole

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Besides the Yankees slugger, the school will also recognize an individual who undeniably impacted the Bulldogs. In 20 seasons, longtime head baseball coach Mike Batesole led the team to the 2008 College World Series championship. He also guided 89 players who were drafted by MLB teams. Five of them have been first-round picks, including the Yankees captain and the LA Angels’ Taylor Ward. Grateful for his time with the Bulldogs, Judge only had words of praise for the coach.

As the slugger said, “Getting to share this moment with Bates is something we will never forget. He is an incredible coach, mentor and friend who changed Fresno State Baseball forever.” This event will mark the player and the coach as the 12th and 13th players that Fresno State baseball has retired.

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The November ceremony will be a celebration of Judge’s Bulldog roots and one of the most dominant players in school history.

Watch This Story: Ranking the Most Famous Captains of the New York Yankees Before Aaron Judge

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Written by:

Arshi.urooz

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Arshi Urooz is a highly motivated MLB content writer at EssentiallySports. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from a renowned university. With over four years of experience writing MLB news, recaps, analysis and features for a recognized media house, Arshi has established herself as a leading authority on professional baseball coverage.
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