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Aaron Judge’s high school prophecy could come true with Giants

© Thomas Shea | 2022 Oct 20

Aaron Judge, the reigning American League MVP, was named TIME Athlete of the Year for 2022. He beat out tennis stars Serena Williams and Roger Federer, NBA champion Stephen Curry and World Cup stars like Kylian Mbappé and Lionel Messi.

But Judge, the 6-foot-7 slugger, captured the world’s attention this summer by taking America’s pastime to remarkable levels. He broke the American League single-season home run record that stood for 61 years in an era in which that sort of achievement should be impossible. The difference between Judge’s 62 home runs and Kyle Schwarber’s second-most (46) hasn’t been seen since 1932.

Judge remains a free agent, with the Yankees in Giants in hot pursuit. In the TIME story announcing his award, Judge revealed multiple parcels of information that provide a window into his thinking.

The first is that, at least as a high schooler, Judge dreamed of playing for the Giants. He actually professed it:

In fact his wife, high school sweetheart Samantha Bracksieck, reminded him of a prediction he made in 2010, his senior year at Linden High School. “I said, in 10 years, I’ll be married to Sam,” says Judge, “and playing for the San Francisco Giants.” Judge smiles. “I was like, that’d better not get out.”

Of course, the 10-year prediction didn’t exactly ring true, as he was still a Yankee in 2020. But he did marry Bracksieck last December, completing half of the prediction.

Judge and Bracksieck grew up in Linden, about 100 miles east of San Francisco. They both left the small town — pop. 2,043 — to attend Fresno State together. Judge’s childhood fandom of the Giants is well-documented, and he maintains that Barry Bonds is the true Home Run King.

Also in the story, Judge reflected on the Yankees’ spring training lowball seven-year, $213.5 million offer. He’d previously said he wasn’t thrilled that general manager Brian Cashman made the offer’s details public, but shed new light on his feelings about the situation.

“We kind of said, Hey, let’s keep this between us,” Judge told TIME. “I was a little upset that the numbers came out. I understand it’s a negotiation tactic. Put pressure on me. Turn the fans against me, turn the media on me. That part of it I didn’t like.” 

In April, after Judge turned down the extension, Yankees fans booed him. They also booed him in the ALCS, when the slugger went through a 1-for-16 slump.

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner has said that he wants keep Judge in pinstripes for the rest of his career. The Yankees recently made Judge a new offer reportedly in the range of eight years, $300 million. The details of San Francisco’s offer aren’t yet public.

Even if it’s a couple years late, Judge has a chance to fulfill his senior year prophecy.

 

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