Aaron Judge’s otherworldly season is beyond Ruthian (2024)

Is this what it was like to watch Babe Ruth play every day?

No. Really. That’s a fair question now. We know Babe Ruth was a great slugger — maybe the greatest slugger — because we can read the numbers, which seem hard to fathom if you look at them too closely. We know he was great because his contemporaries went to their graves revering him, marveling at his power, at his skill, at his flair.

For almost a hundred years, it’s been foolish to compare anyone else to him, even if there’s hardly anyone still living who saw him. Babe Ruth? I mean, Billy Joel is a terrific piano player, but does anyone ever say he was better than Ludwig van Beethoven — though there’s no one presently roaming the earth who ever heard LVB tickle the ivories?

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Some things we just take on faith.

Babe Ruth, it’s always been taken on faith, lived on his own shelf as a slugger.

Everyone else — starting with Hank Aaron, joined by Willie Mays, by Barry Bonds by Ted Williams, by a few others — had their own shelf, just below.

But Aaron Judge makes you wonder.

Is this what it was like to watch Babe Ruth play every day?

“He’s able to go on historical runs, MVP-type runs, otherworldly-type runs,” says Yankees teammate Gerrit Cole, who’s had a front-row seat for so much of what Judge has done since 2020. “He’s just a great player.”

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He is historical. He is otherworldly. He is making a case for himself as the unanimous MVP this time around, to bookend the one he won two years ago when he hit 62 home runs, two more than Ruth did in 1927, the year when Ruth was the most feared baseball player who ever lived.

In ’27, Ruth went on two 51-game tears that make you check your work three and four times when you’re done, to make sure the numbers are right because it feels like they couldn’t possibly be right.

The first, from May 30 to July 26, Ruth had 20 homers, 57 RBIs, scored 55 runs and slashed .400/.526/.844. That’s a 1.371 OPS across two solid months of baseball.

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The second, from Aug. 3 until Sept. 30 — the next-to-last day of the season, the day he swatted No. 60 off Washington’s Tom Zachary and declared “Sixty! Count ‘em! Let’s see some other SOB do that!” — the numbers read like this: 26 homers, 71 RBI, 52 runs, with a slash line of .332/.454/.824 and OPS of 1.278, which only looks thin when you compare it to Ruth’s earlier work.

Now let’s take a look at Aaron Judge’s 51 games prior to Tuesday night’s 5-4 loss to the Reds at Yankee Stadium, where Judge collected three more hits and another home run, his 32nd of the season.

From May 3 through Sunday in Toronto — 51 games — he has 25 home runs. He has 64 RBIs. He has scored 53 runs. He is hitting .397/.507/.922. That’s an OPS of 1.429, which is 58 points better than Babe Ruth hit during the hottest stretch of the most fabled offensive season in baseball history.

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There’s a word for that: Ruthian.

Or maybe it should be Judgian.

It isn’t hype.

It isn’t hyperbole.

It’s history. In real time. Every day.

“He’s in that company all the time now,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone says. “It’s incredible what he’s doing, it really is. Kind of a ho-hum 2-for-4 [Sunday] with one off the batter’s eye. He’s in those conversations now all the time with Gehrig and Ruth and whatever superlative you can find. He keeps putting himself in those conversations.”

He’s put himself in this one. Because he belongs. He doesn’t just impress his teammates, he flabbergasts them. He doesn’t just strike fear in the heart of opposing pitchers, sometimes it goes beyond that — or didn’t you see the baseball-sized welt he left on Chris Bassit’s pitching arm the other day which was there for the world to see until Bassit opted for a long-sleeve shirt on a stifling day.

“The professional,” the jazz master Dizzy Gillespie once said, “is the guy that can do it twice.”

Twice? In his career, Ruth had seasons of 60, 59, 54 and 54. He hit 40 or more in six other years. In that sense, Judge has some catching up to do. He already has 52. He already has 62. He’s all but certain to reach those heights a third time. Ruth’s career is still high on a mountaintop.

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But day-to-day?

This is what it had to be like in 1927, in 1921, in 1930. In those days, when Ruth made titanic blasts seem as routine for him as a game of pepper, it was Jumpin’ Joe Dugan, his teammate with both the Red Sox and Yankees, who said: “To understand him, you have to understand this: He isn’t human.”

The more you watch Aaron Judge, the more you understand.

Aaron Judge’s otherworldly season is beyond Ruthian (2024)

FAQs

How much does Aaron Judge weigh? ›

How many years has Aaron Judge been in the MLB? ›

Judge made his MLB debut on August 13, 2016, starting in right field against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Why does Judge wear 99? ›

Judge wears No. 99 because he was given that number during spring training in 2016. "They gave it to me in spring training and it just kind of stuck with me a little bit," Judge told NJ.com. Judge also wore No.

How tall and big is Aaron Judge? ›

Aaron Judge—who stands 6 feet 7 inches (2.01 metres) tall, weighs 282 pounds (128 kg), and is biracial—was about 10 or 11 years old when he realized that he didn't look much like his parents and began to ask questions.

How many rings does Aaron Judge have? ›

Aaron Judge has not won any championships in his career.
NAMERBI
6A. Judge98
7A. Judge131
8A. Judge75
9A. Judge82
6 more rows

Who has hit more than 60 home runs in a season? ›

Only five players — Babe Ruth, Maris, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds — have hit 60 or more home runs in a single Major League Baseball (MLB) season.

How many seasons does Judge have? ›

Summary. Aaron Judge has played 9 seasons for the Yankees. He has a . 284 batting average, 934 hits, 287 home runs, 649 RBIs and 675 runs scored.

How much does Aaron Judge bat weight? ›

According to Chandler, Judge's AJ99. 2 is a 35 inch, 33 ounce bat with no cup, which he's been swinging since April 2017. At that point he switched to a Cutch22 knob, keeping the same 1.04″ handle as he had in the past.

Does Aaron Judge lift weights? ›

Aaron Judge working on his core

As mentioned before, Aaron Judge's workout routine is not just limited to tire flips and heavy lifting. He is a connoisseur of fitness. At the core of his routine are yoga and Pilates movements, designed to keep his massive frame nimble and his long limbs quick as a cat.

What is Aaron Judges' net worth? ›

Aaron Judge's Net Worth
NameAaron James Judge
Net Worth$55 million estimated
Age31 (born April 26, 1992)
ResidenceLinden, California, United States
Marital StatusMarried
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Jan 19, 2024

What does Aaron Judge drive? ›

Audi A7. Powered by a 340-horsepower V6 engine and a maximum torque of 369 lb-ft, this car is a true force of nature. Capable of reaching speeds of up to 155 mph and accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds, the Audi A7 flawlessly blends elegance and performance in a way that few vehicles can match.

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