Former Yankees slugger praises Aaron Judge for not repeating the mistake he made

Aaron Judge at Yankee Stadium after a Yankees win and (inset) Darryl Strawberry with the Yankees 1996 World Series trophy.
John Allen
Monday February 6, 2023

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Did Aaron Judge save his career by staying in the Bronx Yankees and refusing to go to San Francisco despite a high push by the Giants? Former Yankees’ prodigious home-run hitter Darryl Strawberry believes he did.

Strawberry acknowledged this on Sunday. The Strawman, who was with the Yankees team that won World Series in 1996 and 1999, was attending “Pinstripe Pride” at American Dream in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Both Aaron Judge and Darryl Strawberry were big-time outfield sluggers in New York when they turned free agents. During their free agency, they received huge offers from their teams in New York as well as dominant teams from California. They had to decide between the team that helped them become a star and the team from their home state.

While Aaron Judge made a decision to remain in New York, Strawberry preferred to move to the West Coast. And the former slugger thinks he did a mistake with that while Aaron Judge made the right decision. He told:

“You just don’t leave New York. It’s the greatest place to play. I’m glad Aaron Judge made the right decision.”

“The market is incredible. And when you win here, it’s forever.”

Strawberry’s career graph shows that his move to the Dodgers on November 8, 1990, was a mistake. In the 1990 season with the Mets, the slugger hit 37 home runs, drove in 108 runs, and ended with an average of .277. However, after his seventh straight All-Star season, he went into free agency as the best player available and signed a five-year, $22.25 million deal with the Dodgers. At the time, this was the second-highest contract in MLB history.

Strawberry, who was born and raised in Los Angeles, left the Queens for his hometown. The Mets gave were ready to get him back for four years and $15.5 million.

However, his stint with the Dodgers saw his career graph going down. The right fielder played well for the Dodgers for one season but he was largely a shadow of his former self for the next two seasons with personal problems, health issues, and injuries. He couldn’t go beyond five home runs for the next two seasons.

Darryl Strawberry joined the Giants in 1994 after the Dodgers released him. However, he could hit only four homers in San Francisco and was embroiled in a drug scandal.

When the power hitter returned to New York and joined the Yankees in 1996, he regained his lost form. He hit 11 home runs, including three homers in a game against the White Sox. He won two World Series rings in 1996 and 1999 while at the Bronx.

Strawberry is the best person to talk about Aaron Judge’s decision and baseball in The Bronx because he played there for the last five seasons of his career.

Aaron Judge, who grew up in Northern California, was the Giants’ top target. He had always cheered for them. The Padres also bid during a long process this winter that didn’t end until December 7, when Judge agreed to spend the rest of his career with the Yankees.

Boos didn’t deter Aaron Judge from coming back

The Yankees were desperate to get back their star player, who set a record by hitting 62 home runs last year. Even though Aaron Judge got boos when he struggled in the playoffs, he might never play against a team whose fans are more patient.

“The difference in playing in New York is just the fans. They have great knowledge about the game. So they are going to let you know that you suck,” Strawberry told. “That’s something you have to learn how to deal with. … They made me a tremendous player because of that.”

As Aaron Judge visited other teams, a lot of attention was paid to the crowd behavior at Yankee Stadium, which had turned on its best player at a time when their beloved team was facing a defeat after its stars failed to perform. Strawberry sees the anger of his fans less as a problem and more as a reason to work harder.

“Being booed is not a bad thing. Everyone makes it out like it’s a bad thing. Some players can’t take it,” said Strawberry. “But they’re going to pay you to play in the best place, and they’re going to pay you a lot.”

Aaron Judge, who, like Strawberry, stands out because of his size and powerful swings, will be a bigger star with the Yankees than he could be with any other team. His legacy with the Yankees will depend in part on whether or not he wins a title.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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