Aaron Hicks is well aware of the situation in the Bronx.
Entering year three of a seven-year, $70 million-dollar extension and battling for playing time in an outfield full of sluggers, it’s time for the switch-hitting center fielder to become the consistent force the Yankees expected when he signed on that dotted line.
Finally healthy, Hicks, 32, knows exactly what will make him stand apart from the competition.
“There is something special about 30-30,” Hicks told reporters when asked about his goals this season. “For me, I want to steal more, and I feel like 30 home runs are reachable for me. Those two together are a dangerous pair. That’s definitely something that I would like to do.”
Hicks wants more moments like this…
And when it comes to the 30-30 club, Hicks is right. It’s one of the most revered in all of baseball, mainly because rarely do players possess the combination of speed and power to hit both plateaus.
If Hicks reaches his goal, he would be the oldest Yankee – and just the third in team history – to accomplish the feat. In 1975, the OG Bobby Bonds was the first to post a 30-30 season in pinstripes. Yankees’ fans would have to wait 27 years to see it again, when Alfonso Soriano joined the club in 2002 and 2003.
For Hicks, reaching this plateau would mean a career season.
In his best season to date, Hicks smacked 27 homers and swiped 11 bags. Now neither of those marks would qualify him for the 30/30 club, but Hicks isn’t discouraged by any means.
As a matter of fact, Hicks – who played only 32 games in 2021 after a wrist injury – has put in extra work over the offseason, including a trip to the Dominican Winter League.
“I got to work on a lot of things that you can’t really work on during the season, like hitting the other way,” said Hicks, who batted .250 (2-for-8) in the first three games of the 2022 season. “I made sure my first two at-bats, I was trying to do that. Stealing bases, I was 2-for-2 there.”
He even got engaged to his girlfriend Cheyenne Woods, the niece of golf legend Tiger Woods. They now share one child together.
They told GolfWeek that they first met when 31-year-old Woods interviewed Hicks for her podcast, “Birdies Not BS.”
Hicks is accomplishing so much growth in his personal life and expects that to translate to the field. Going 30-30 would put Hicks in elite company, not only in Yankees’ history, but history period.
Only 43 ballplayers in MLB history have joined the 30-30 Club —13 have done it multiple times — making it one of the smallest fraternities within the sport. Of those 43 players, 17 are Black. That’s about 41 PERCENT of all players to ever crack this list.
The Bonds household (Barry and Bobby) hold the record for most 30-30 seasons with five, while Hall of Famers and certified G.O.A.T.s Willie Mays and Hank Aaron are also part of this illustrious group. Baltimore Orioles center fielder Cedric Mullins was the latest MLBbro to make the club, doing so last season.
Hicks possesses all the tools. And now that he’s healthy, we will see if he’s given an opportunity to join this historic group.