Aaron Judge legendary Home Run Derby performance introduced the world to baseball's newest star
July 11, 2017
MIAMI – One hundred fifty years ago, when baseball was in its infancy, never could it have dreamed of a night like Monday, of a man like Aaron Judge. He does things to a baseball that defy comprehension and test the limits of physics and remind the jaded masses of the human body’s ability to perform wondrous feats. Progress is typically a slow burn. Judge took an evolutionary leap over a conflagrant two hours.
The evening ended at 10:20 p.m. ET on the 80th swing of Judge’s Home Run Derby-winning, star-affirming, zeitgeist-capturing show. Forty-seven went for home runs, the kill shot a 458-foot screamer to center field. They traveled 3.9 miles total, the shortest 372 feet, the longest 513. Three more exceeded the 500-foot mark. Balls went to left, center, right, ricocheted off the glass wall to his pull side and the hands of those bold enough to believe they can catch something that steamed off the bat at 110 mph-plus and the acid-trip sculpture in center field at Marlins Park, the stadium that served as Judge’s playground.
He is 25 years old and a rookie and a New York Yankee, and those three things together make him the star baseball needs. Mike Trout is one of the best players ever and Bryce Harper a wonderful representative of what baseball can be, but Aaron Judge is something altogether different, a 6-foot-7, 282-pound, right-handed singularity – a specimen whose ability can make a sport rethink its limits because he stretches so beyond what was believed to be possible.