Years Before His Yankees Captaincy, Aaron Judge Surprised the MLB World With a Mature Outlook

Published 08/18/2023, 7:30 PM EDT

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There has never been a doubt about Aaron Judge’s capabilities as a hitter. But little did the folks in the big leagues know that he had innate latent leadership qualities way before he ever came to the limelight. Although 2023 may be an exception, every time the New York Yankees have needed a push in the game, Aaron Judge has shown up.

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The reigning AL MVP put Bronx fans through a rollercoaster of emotions last off-season. He went into free agency but didn’t re-sign with the Yankees at first. When news of his nine-year, $360 million contract broke out, Yankee fans were immensely relieved. As a bonus, Judge was also named the 16th franchise captain after Derek Jeter vacated the position in 2014.

And to say that no one was surprised would be an understatement. Because his team had always been aware of his innate maturity.

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It All Started Way Back When He Was A Rookie

Aaron Judge, always an elite player, made it to the top in his rookie season in 2017. He had always shown minor reflections of capability that turned into leadership as was seen in the following seasons. The fact became more apparent when he discussed his struggles with David Fischer for his book Aaron Judge: The Incredible Story of the New York Yankees’ Home Run-Hitting Phenom.

On page 96, Fischer quotes Judge, “You’re going to have those times when you go 0-for-20, 0-for-30. It’s all about just staying [even-keeled]. For me, it’s just baseball. You’re going to have times where you get to the plate, and the baseball’s going to look like a golf ball up there. And then you’re going to have times when you’re up there and everything is looking right down the middle. That’s baseball.”

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No one could quite believe these words came from a rookie. Judge pretty much eased into the leadership role from being a rookie to the captain of the New York Yankees. There have been monumental incidents where he has portrayed immaculate composure and been a powerfully motivating presence for the Yankees.

Aaron Judge Wasn’t An Ordinary Prospect – A Leader Through and Through 

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People were always noticing the glimpses of his captain-like composure. David Fischer also mentions on the same page how visitors to the Yankee clubhouse witnessed Judge’s quiet but looming presence. His persona was so profound that it attracted attention even amidst a chaotic season.

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Aaron Boone, manager of the New York Yankees, said during Spring Training in 2019, “He’s a great player, but as a second-year player essentially in the league, the respect he has of his teammates and the intangible impact that he has on our club became so apparent to me.”

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Folks continue to notice that it has been a “long time since any rookie player left such a large footprint on the game,” as Fischer writes. The Yankees may be struggling this season, but Aaron Judge’s leadership saga continues today.

WATCH THIS STORY – Ranking the Most Famous Captains of the New York Yankees Before Aaron Judge

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Written by:

Kanishka Prakash

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Kanishka Prakash is an MLB writer at EssentiallySports. She comes from an engineering college background and possesses prior experience in the business sector. Her affection for sports burgeoned during her adolescence, with MLB particularly captivating her attention.
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