NEW YORK — Aaron Judge was named captain of the New York Yankees on Wednesday, the first since Derek Jeter retired after the 2014 season.
The All-American’s 2022 MVP, Judge agreed to a nine-year, $360 million contract to remain in the Bronx’s striped uniform.
« It’s a huge honor that I don’t take lightly, » Judge said at a news conference at Yankee Stadium, just yards from Jeter.
While Judge was chasing Roger Marris’ home run record, which he would improve to 62 home runs, some teammates began to push his bid to become club captain, including first baseman Anthony Rizzo and pitcher Nestor Cortes.
The Yankees have had six captains since the Steinbrenner family owned the team: Thurman Munson (1976-79), Craig Nettles (1982-84), Willie Randolph (1986-88), Ron Guidry (1986-89), Don Mattingly (1991-95) and Jeter (2003-14). Randolph was also on hand Wednesday.
« He’s a great Yankee, on and off the field, » praised owner Hal Steinbrenner.
Judge sat between his wife, Samantha, and Steinbrenner. They were joined by Jeter, Judge’s agent Page Odle, club chairman Randy Levine, general manager Brian Cashman, manager Aaron Boone, and chief operating officer Lonn Trost.
In his first turn at bat for the Yankees, in 2016, Judge homered, cementing the legend of the six-foot-seven colossus in the Bronx. He was named All-A-Rookie of the Year in 2017 and has helped the Yankees reach the playoffs in each of the past six seasons.
A four-time All-Star selection, he batted .311 this season and finished atop the Majors with 131 RBIs.
Other captains of the venerable franchise were Clark Griffith (1903-05), Kid Eberfeld (1906-08), Willie Keeler (1909), Hal Chase (1910-11), Frank Chance (1913), Rollie Zelder (1913) , Roger Peckinpaugh (1914-21), Babe Ruth (1922) and Lou Gehrig (1935-39).