The honors just keep rolling in for Aaron Judge.
The new AL home run king, AL Most Valuable Player and recipient of a nine-year $360 million contract with the Yankees, Judge was named The Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year on Friday.
The slugging outfielder narrowly won the vote of 40 sports writers and editors around the country, edging out Angels two-way star and last year’s winner Shohei Ohtani and Warriors superstar Stephen Curry.
“Wow. That’s incredible,” Judge told the AP. “All these other great athletes that not only impacted the game and their sport, but also impacted their communities and the culture in the sports world and outside the sports world. So getting a chance to be amongst that list is an incredible honor.”
The last Yankee to win the award was Ron Guidry in 1978, with Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio among the other past recipients. Maris won the award in 1961 after setting the AL record with 61 home runs, which Judge surpassed in 2022 by hitting 62.
The historic season came after Judge turned down a seven-year, $213.5 million extension offer ahead of Opening Day. He went on to captivate the sport with his home run chase while also making a run at the Triple Crown, batting .311 with 62 home runs and 131 RBIs in addition to a 1.111 OPS. The reward was a nine-year, $360 million deal to remain in pinstripes, which also came with the Yankees naming Judge the 16th captain in franchise history.
Judge also beat out Ohtani for the AL MVP, picking up 28 of 30 first-place votes to become the first Yankee to win the award since Alex Rodriguez in 2007.