Aaron Judge has been named the 16th captain in New York Yankees history. The announcement was made Wednesday, when the Yankees officially announced Judge's nine-year, $360 million contract with a press conference at Yankee Stadium. Derek Jeter, the Yankees' most recent captain, was on hand for the announcement, as was Willie Randolph, another former Yankees captain.
"To get a chance to continue my legacy here in pinstripes, in the best city in the world, the best baseball city, in front of the best fans, this is an incredible honor," Judge said following the announcement. "This is an incredible honor that I don't take lightly."
The Yankees have named Aaron Judge the 16th Captain in franchise history. pic.twitter.com/F8uwyIOF3k— New York Yankees (@Yankees) December 21, 2022
Several of Judge's Yankees teammates, including Nestor Cortes and Anthony Rizzo, publicly lobbied for Judge to be named captain after the 2022 season. Unlike NHL and NFL teams, MLB teams do not regularly name captains. New York Mets icon David Wright, who retired in 2018 and last played a full season in 2014, was baseball's last official captain. Judge is the only active captain in the league.
Here is the full list of captains in Yankees' franchise history (the New York Highlanders became the Yankees in 1912):
- OF Aaron Judge: Present
- SS Derek Jeter: 2003-14
- 1B Don Mattingly: 1991-95
- SP Ron Guidry: 1986-88
- 2B Willie Randolph: 1986-88
- 3B Graig Nettles: 1982-84
- C Thurman Munson: 1976-79
- 1B Lou Gehrig: 1935-39
- SS Everett Smith: 1922-25
- OF Babe Ruth: 1922
- SS Roger Peckinpaugh: 1914-21
- 1B Frank Chance: 1913
- 1B Hal Chase: 1910-12
- OF Wee Willie Keeler: 1908-09
- SS Kid Elberfeld: 1906-07
- SP Clark Griffith: 1903-05
Ruth's stint as captain lasted only five days. He was stripped of the title following an altercation with a fan at the Polo Grounds.
By the time the Yankees named Jeter captain, he was in his eighth season and had already won four World Series championships. Winning a title is not a prerequisite for being named Yankees captain, however: Mattingly and Munson were named captain before they even played a postseason game.
Judge, 30, was originally drafted by the Yankees with the No. 33 pick in the 2013 draft. He made his MLB debut late in 2016 and was named AL Rookie of the Year in 2017 after hitting a then-rookie record 52 home runs. Judge hit 62 home runs this past season to break Roger Maris' longstanding American League record and earn him AL MVP honors.