After eight seasons without a leader, the New York Yankees have finally filled their captainship vacancy following the retirement of Derek Jeter. Aaron Judge, who recently broke the American League home run record held by Roger Maris and signed a nine-year contract worth $360 million, will become the 16th captain in franchise history for the Bronx Bombers. The new Yankees captain joins the ranks of Don Mattingly, Willie Randolph, Thurman Munson and other MLB legends.
No. 99 Aaron Judge Gets Mega-Deal and Major Honor
RELATED: Yankee Slugger Aaron Judge Married His Wife Samantha Bracksieck in Hawaii
Hal Steinbrenner, the son of the late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, announced the decision in a news conference. "The last month, it was difficult to imagine the New York Yankees without Aaron," Steinbrenner said to the media. "One of the conversations we had two weeks ago, I actually said to him, 'As far as I'm concerned, you are not a free agent, as far as I'm concerned you are a Yankee, and we need to do everything we can to make sure that remains the same.'"
Steinbrenner is referring to the fact that Judge almost signed with the San Francisco Giants, which had a deal with the pinstripe slugger before Steinbrenner and general manager Brian Cashman swept in and signed him. This was the first signing the Giants lost out on this offseason, as Carlos Correa signed a deal with the Mets a day after he was supposed to be announced by San Francisco. Judge was also reportedly considering an offer from the San Diego Padres.
"Technically speaking, of course, I was incorrect in my feelings," Steinbrenner continued at the news conference. "Aaron was a free agent, and there were numerous clubs that wanted him in a big way to be a part of their organization. Fortunately, in the end, it all worked out."
Judge, the crown jewel of the 2022 free agency class, also spoke about the honor of being named captain of the New York Yankees. "Getting a chance to be the captain of the Yankees now, that goes without saying what an honor that is. I looked back at the list -- Thurman Munson, Lou Gehrig, Ron Guidry, Willie Randolph, Derek Jeter, Don Mattingly. That's a pretty good list right there, not only great baseball players but great ambassadors of the game and great ambassadors of the New York Yankees. This is an incredible honor that I don't take lightly."
Judge Joins Elite Company as Yankees Captain
RELATED: The New York Yankees Retired Numbers Team Is Full of Baseball's Best
The Yankees began naming a team captain in 1903 when Clark Griffith was given the honor. Other Yankee captains include Willie Keeler, Frank Chance, Graig Nettles, Roger Peckinpaugh, Hal Chase, Kid Elberfeld and, of course, Babe Ruth.
Now that he's secured his "C," Yankees fans hope Judge can take their team deep into the playoffs and bring a World Series back to Yankee Stadium. After all, with homers flying off his bat at a record pace, the Yankees MVP outfielder has all the tools to do just that. And if history is any indication, Yankee captains tend to follow through on that World Series promise.
MORE: Aaron Judge's Parents Adopted Him, and He Wouldn't Be a Yankee Without Them
Enjoy all things sports?
Don't miss a story! Sign up for daily stories delivered to your inbox.