NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge and Joe DiMaggio were born in California towns 57 miles apart, and like the Yankee Clipper, someone may be writing songs about this slugger before all is said and done. Either way, the Yankees surely want him on their side.Judge eclipsed DiMaggio's franchise record for
NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge and Joe DiMaggio were born in California towns 57 miles apart, and like the Yankee Clipper, someone may be writing songs about this slugger before all is said and done. Either way, the Yankees surely want him on their side.
Judge eclipsed DiMaggio's franchise record for home runs hit by a rookie with his Major League-leading 30th home run in Friday's 9-4 loss at Yankee Stadium, a solo blast in the fifth inning off the Brewers' Josh Hader that landed on the netting covering Monument Park.
"It's quite an honor," Judge said. "It's been a fun first half so far. I'm blessed to be in this position with my teammates around me, always putting me in the right spot and helping me do my best and helping me succeed."
The 25-year-old Judge had equaled DiMaggio's 1936 tally of 29 homers in Wednesday's 7-6 loss to the Blue Jays. Friday's blast off Hader, the Brewers' top pitching prospect and the top left-handed prospect in all of baseball, gave Judge his third straight game with a homer.
As Judge prepares to participate in Monday's Home Run Derby, he connected with an 85.1-mph changeup from Hader; the ball went off his bat at 109.9 mph, with a 32-degree launch angle. The homer traveled an estimated 432 feet, according to Statcast™.
"It's pretty special. It's a pretty special name he passed," manager Joe Girardi said. "It's very incredible what he's done in the first half of the season. You talk about the home runs, the walks, the average he's hit for, the defense he's played. It's a pretty special first half."
Jesus Aguilar, who homered twice and drove in seven runs on Friday for Milwaukee, said that Judge isn't doing anything out of the ordinary -- for him, at least.
"I played against him when I was with Cleveland, in Double-A and Triple-A," Aguilar said. "I've known him for a little while. I'm not real surprised with what he's doing, really. He's a monster."
Though Judge is hearing his name linked with one of the greatest Yankees of all time, he is not about to celebrate his accomplishments, and probably won't for quite some time.
"When my career is over, to be honest," he said. "This game will humble you quick. I've got it in my notes, I look at it every day -- .179, what I hit last year. That's just a reminder that this game will humble you quick, so keep taking it one day at a time. I don't do too much reflecting right now."
The only rookie in Major League history with more home runs prior to an All-Star break is Mark McGwire, who had 33 at the break for the 1987 Athletics. Judge is the first Yankee, age 25 or younger, to hit at least 30 homers in a season since Don Mattingly hit 31 at age 25 in 1986.
"I wish all 30 were game-winners," Judge said. "It's tough, answering questions like this after a loss. It just makes it a little tough."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat.