Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton's power was the talk of baseball throughout 2017. Now, incredibly, their names will be written together on Yankees manager Aaron Boone's lineup card.On the eve of the Winter Meetings, the Yankees and Marlins have agreed to one the biggest trades in recent memory. Stanton will
Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton's power was the talk of baseball throughout 2017. Now, incredibly, their names will be written together on Yankees manager Aaron Boone's lineup card.
On the eve of the Winter Meetings, the Yankees and Marlins have agreed to one the biggest trades in recent memory. Stanton will be coming to the Bronx in exchange for Starlin Castro and prospects Jose Devers and Jorge Guzman, pending Stanton's approval of the deal and a successful physical. New York will also take on all but $30 million of Stanton's record-setting contract.
The impending deal sets up one of the rarest duos in the history of professional baseball. Stanton (59 home runs in 2017) and Judge (a rookie-record 52 blasts) will become only the second pair of teammates who each hit at least 50 homers the previous season, following the legendary Bronx tandem of Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris in 1962. Per the Elias Sports Bureau, the Yankees are also the first team to lead the Majors in home runs and then acquire that season's individual homer champ since they purchased Babe Ruth from the Red Sox way back in 1919.
There's one more piece of history on the way: This will mark only the fourth time that the reigning National and American League home run champions joined forces as teammates the following season, according to Elias. As you'll see below, however, Judge and Stanton are quite different from the previous examples; Judge is entering his sophomore season at age 25, and Stanton is very much in his prime at 28. We've likely never seen a duo come together like this while each player was near the peak of his respective powers.
Here's a look at how the previous pairs of home run kings from each league fared once they put on the same uniforms:
1975 Phillies: Dick Allen and Mike Schmidt
Allen claimed the 1964 NL Rookie of the Year Award and eight All-Star Game selections with the Phillies from 1963-69, but strained relations led Philadelphia to trade him to the Cardinals after a 32-homer season. Allen spent just one season in St. Louis before he was traded to the Dodgers, and then he was traded again to the White Sox after a single campaign in L.A.
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Chicago was a fruitful locale for Allen, as he won the AL MVP in 1972 and crushed 85 dingers over three seasons on the South Side. Allen paced the Junior Circuit with 32 round-trippers in '74, but shoulder and back pain led him to tearfully announce his temporary retirement that September amid a dominant season. The White Sox traded his rights to Atlanta for cash considerations that winter, but Allen informed the Braves he would not play for them. Instead, he surprised most everyone by stating he'd be interested in rejoining the Phillies. In May 1975, Allen got his wish, returning to the City of Brotherly Love via trade.
The only man who homered more than Allen in 1974 was Schmidt, who broke out for 36 homers and 116 RBIs in his sophomore campaign. Philadelphia fans, who had once booed Allen mercilessly, gave him standing ovations upon his return in 1975, but the tandem of Allen and Schmidt couldn't deliver. Hampered by his long layoff, Allen mustered only 12 homers that year, while Schmidt paced the Majors again with 38. Allen spent just one more season in Philly and was out of baseball by the spring of 1978.
1949 Yankees: Joe DiMaggio and Johnny Mize
DiMaggio was coming off one of his last great seasons in 1948, when he paced the AL with 39 homers at age 33. But lingering bone spurs in DiMaggio's right heel forced him out of the first 65 games of '49, and the Yankees sought reinforcements as he worked his way back. Luckily for them, Mize was struggling with the Giants after he'd shared the '47 and '48 homer crowns with Ralph Kiner, and was looking for a change of scenery.
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That change wound up being a trip across the Harlem River, as the Bombers purchased Mize for $40,000 from their crosstown rivals. The Big Cat's power never returned to its former heights -- and DiMaggio had just one more vintage season to offer in 1950 -- but Mize's impact was felt all the same. The Yankees went on to win five straight World Series in Mize's five years at Yankee Stadium, starting in that autumn of 1949.
1947 Pirates: Hank Greenberg and Kiner
Greenberg became a Motor City hero in 1945 after first returning from service in World War II and then leading the Tigers to a World Series triumph. He came back for a massive season in '46, pacing the Majors with 44 home runs despite back pain that drove down his batting average. The Tigers thought Greenberg's best years were behind him despite the power surge, and they sold the Detroit legend to the Pirates for $75,000 in January 1947.
Greenberg mulled retirement, but the Pirates pulled in the cavernous fences at Forbes Field and offered to make him baseball's first $100,000 player. There was also the chance to mentor Kiner, the rookie who had just led the NL with 23 homers. Greenberg went on to call Kiner "the most astute student of hitting I ever knew."
The pairing of Greenberg and Kiner is the closest correlation to Judge and Stanton, as they were the only ones who were both in the same lineup card on Opening Day. Kiner took off for 51 homers, but '47 proved to be Greenberg's final season after he hit a career-low .249 with 25 homers and 74 RBIs.
None of these three pairings lived up to full expectations, but the stage is set for Judge and Stanton to accomplish much more in the cozy confines of Yankee Stadium. For a team that already came within one game of reaching the World Series, the Yankees could be onto something big with this duo in the heart of their lineup.
Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.