NEW YORK -- Reggie Jackson knows a thing or two about being the power-hitting center of attention in New York City, which is why Mr. October believes that Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge will be terrific teammates in Yankees pinstripes."I think that they will be successful because of each other,"
NEW YORK -- Reggie Jackson knows a thing or two about being the power-hitting center of attention in New York City, which is why Mr. October believes that Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge will be terrific teammates in Yankees pinstripes.
"I think that they will be successful because of each other," Jackson said on Thursday during an appearance on MLB Network. "You see two giants like that, whether it's with their power or size, and it's exciting for you as a player.
"When I went to the ballpark and had a chance to play against Jim Rice or play against Dick Allen or play on the same field with Willie Mays, Hank Aaron or Willie McCovey, I was excited to be at the ballpark to watch those guys as a player. And so I think it'll be the same thing here."
Stanton, the reigning National League Most Valuable Player, paced the Majors with 59 homers for the Marlins before being dealt to New York in a December trade. Judge hit 52 homers, earning American League Rookie of the Year honors while finishing second to the Astros' Jose Altuve in the AL MVP chase.
"The fans, our own players, people like myself -- I've been in the game 50 years in the Major Leagues and I'm going to be excited to see these two guys play," Jackson said. "I think they'll play off each other. I think they'll support each other and I think they'll give energy to each other."
Jackson has been among those in Judge's corner since early in the slugger's career, comparing him at times to Dave Winfield, Willie Stargell and McCovey. Jackson demurred when offered credit for Judge's rise, lauding the work of Yankees hitting coach Marcus Thames, as well as James Rowson, who worked with Judge in the Minors and is now the Twins' hitting coach.
"I really give most of the credit to the people who have worked with him for his success," Jackson said. "The idea that our owner, Hal Steinbrenner, wanted him in the big leagues in 2017. We were going to take a chance one way or the other, and he was going to make it or fail because he was going to get a chance to play.
"The first person that you want to give credit to is Aaron Judge himself, for getting through the highs and lows and being a success in 2017."
Jackson believes that both Judge and Stanton have aspects of their game that they can improve upon in 2018, mentioning that Judge hopes to cut down on his strikeouts after leading the Majors with 208 whiffs, and that Stanton could increase his hit total after logging 168 with Miami last year.
"When this guy puts the ball in play, the numbers play for themselves," Jackson said. "When they hit the ball in play, they hit .420, .400, .390. It's fun. It's going to be fun."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007.