Some believe that playing baseball with projectiles traveling 100 miles per hour around the ballpark is the toughest skill facing a professional athlete in any sport.
Being the best player over the course of a 162-game marathon of a season — and then possibly a postseason — is next to impossible to 99 percent of the globe.
Now that Aaron Judge has returned from his 10-game absence due to injuring his wrist, the MLBbro slugger can get back to business and help the Yankees dig themselves out of a hole that has them nine games out of first and sitting at the bottom of the tough AL East division.
It takes a special player to conquer what Judge and the Yankees have in front of them over the last 130 or so games.
Aaron Judge Wins MVP
Well, Aaron Judge became one of those players last year winning AL MVP on the strength of breaking the American League home run record with 62 Bro bombs. A record held by Roger Maris for decades.
Judge’s accomplishments transcended the baseball diamond. He became the storyline of the entire season, the face of the sport with a special ability that MLBbro.com covered in detail last month.
After missing the Triple Crown by an eyelash in the final month, Judge’s production still had the baseball world salivating, finishing with a league-high 62 dingers and 131 RBI, which is the highest total since Chris “Crush” Davis in 2013. Add in 111 walks, 28 doubles with a batting average of .311 and we have the best player in the sport.
It didn’t take the MLBbro long to reintroduce the baseball world to his special talent of giving fans souvenirs to take home in Yankees openers.
ALL RISE! 👨⚖️
Aaron Judge hits the first home run of the 2023 season! 🔥
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) March 30, 2023
Judge Was Hurt, Yankees Were Slumping
The fans, the media, maybe even the Yankees thought the party would keep right on going. However, things have started to slow down a bit with Aaron thanks to missing ten games with a hip injury.
As Gary Sheffield Jr. states here, as Judge goes so do the Yankees who have taken a nosedive in the standings to last place in the AL East.
The Yankees Have Plummeted Without #MLBbro Aaron Judge | His Star Power Is Missed@GarysheffieldJr talks about the Yankees' struggles and how important an #AaronJudge return is to their World Series fortunes. pic.twitter.com/PAU9k7mgdi
— MLBbro.com (@MLBbrodotcom) May 8, 2023
While stats like a batting average of only .261 with six homers and 14 RBI, it looks like Judge is headed towards a season of much lesser production.
Judge Can Still Have MVP Season
Now back in the fold, Judge still has time to heat up and replicate last year’s accomplishments, or at least come close.
MLBbro.com decided to look back at some MLBbro MVPs of the past and compare their seasons following MVP campaigns.
Pick one. This MLBbro won seven MVP awards in his career which is the most in Major League Baseball history (1990, 1992,1993,2001,2002,2003,2004). He is the first player in history in either league to win three MVPs. The reigning MLB home run king with 762 owns so many hitting records that MLBbro.com did a feature on how he was blackballed out of the running for the Hall of Fame.
In 2001, Bonds broke the single season home run record with 73 home runs. But his batting average of .328, 137 RBI, and unheard of 177 walks (A ton of them intentional) made him MVP, the best player in baseball and the most feared hitter on the planet at the time. Outside of a World Series title, there wasn’t an accomplishment that this MLBbro couldn’t reach on green grass in any baseball stadium.
The following season:
The short statement would be that Bonds won the MVP again.
The long statement would be…”Man, did you know what this MLBbro did after his MVP year?”
Barry Bonds won the second of his four straight MVP awards by hitting .370 with 46 homers and 110 RBI. Why give him the MVP when he declined in the home run department?
No one seemingly gave the man a chance. Barry collected an absurd 198 walks that season. Couple that with his magic in the field (Did we forget to mention that he won eight Gold Gloves in his career?), this MLBbro icon owned this award for four straight years and it was not even close.
The ultimate debate around sports and the MVP conversations is the fact that MVP players have to be on winning teams. Even bad teams have one player that has to be the best on the team right?
Then there is Ernie Banks, considered one of the first power hitting shortstops in Major League history and easily one of the only reasons the Chicago Cubs fan base spent their money to watch a perennially awful Cubs team year after year.
In 1958, the man famously known as “Mr. Cub” lead the National League in homers with 47 and RBI. He hit .313 from the plate with a slugging percentage of .614. He ran away with the MVP award and possibly kept the lights on in Chicago at the time.
The following season:
For a MLBbro that never got to experience a postseason, Ernie Banks was the epitome of a professional that played for the love of the game. Luckily for the Chicago Cubs, they got to benefit from Banks’ joy.
The following year in 1959, ‘Mr. Cub” tallied 45 homers with 143 RBI and posted a .304 batting average. With this award, Banks became only the fifth player to win the MVP award in back to back seasons. When this MLBbro icon retired he finished with 2,583 hits, 512 home runs, 1,636 RBI and 1,305 runs scored. With 11 All-Star appearances, Banks was inducted into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
Oh the history of Reggie Jackson and the Oakland A’s. That 1973 season should have been a debacle with Reggie, the other Oakland stars and even the manager playing out public spats with then owner, Charles O. Finley, this MLBbro icon won the MVP with a batting average of .293, power numbers of 32 home runs and 117 RBI and 22 stolen bases checked off the speed of this budding superstar.
Despite all of the chaos, Reggie led the A’s to a World Series title over the New York Mets in seven games. Yes, Reggie…Reggie…Reggie…won the Series MVP as well.
The following year:
Reggie Jackson was entertaining as he was talented. In his previous year in Oakland, Reggie boldly stated that if he was playing in New York, he would have his own candy bar. The man did not lie as he had one five years later when he became a Yankee.
Reggie Jackson did not repeat as MVP in 1974, but that did not mean he did not put up numbers. The future “Mr. October” hit 29 home runs and knocked in 86 RBI in the campaign. Although he didn’t win the MVP this year, the A’s did defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-1 to win the World Series championship.