The New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge is having a rookie season to remember. The big man (big enough to be a basketball player at 6’7, 282lb) hasn’t hit a home run since before the All Star break, a week and a half ago, and still leads the league in homers with 30 (at the time of writing this). He heading towards a Rookie of the Year award, so we decided to take a look back at other rookies of the year.
There have been some amazing rookie seasons in the century and a half that baseball has entertained the fans. From “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, who in 1911 hit .408/.468/.590 and a 9.2 WAR to Mark McGwire’s rookie season in 1987, who tallied 97 runs, 161 hits and 118 runs batted in.
Of course who can forget 2012, a year that gave us two rookie sensations who are still the faces of Major League Baseball. Bryce Harper and Mike Trout burst onto the scene during the 2012 season and entertained us both on the defensive and offensive ends. Trout’s 2012 season alone had enough home run robbing catches for a career-long tape. He also tallied 129 runs and 49 stolen bases. Bryce Harper, at 19 years old, hit .270/.340/.477 with 144 hits, 98 runs and 59 runs batted in in just 139 games.
There are plenty of rookies to choose from, and plenty of players who keep outshining one another. So back to Aaron Judge. How do Judge’s numbers compare to the greatest rookie seasons in MLB history? Let’s take a look at the best all time rookie seasons:
*Please note the players are listed in chronological order of their rookie seasons and not by talent, and we are more than ready to add Judge to this list by next season, or even October.
Team: New York Yankees
After only pitching a single game in 1909, Russ Ford entered his rookie season in 1910 and shut down the Bomber’s opponents. Ford finished the season with 26-6 record and 1.65 ERA in 299.2 innings pitched. Granted, Ford pitched during the Dead Ball Era, but his numbers are astounding even for the time period. He ranked second in WAR in pitching, with only Walter Johnson ahead of him, with 11.0 WAR.