Is Yankees star Aaron Judge the biggest baseball player known to man? Every time he’s spotted next to Jose Altuve, the answer seems like an ironclad yes, but it’s worth defining this bit of terminology further.
What does “largest baseball player” mean to you? The tallest? No, that honor goes to two pitchers named Jon Rauch and Sean Hjelle. Your inclination might’ve been to scream, “Randy Johnson!” out loud in an effort to alert him that a bird was crossing his pitch’s path, but the Hall of Famer is “just” 6-10. Rauch and Hjelle — who just debuted for the Giants — are both 6-11. Judge is 6-7, comparatively teensy.
Who is the tallest baseball player in MLB history?
What about the heaviest? Judge packs a tremendous amount of bulk on his hulking frame, but he appears to be 95% muscle and 5% rubber bands holding it all together. He weighs in at a listed 282 pounds, a massive quantity for someone so athletic.
The answer to this question is quite tragic. Walter Young, an outfielder in the Pirates’ and Orioles’ systems in the mid-2000s, made his MLB debut in Sept. 2005 listed at 6-5 and 322 pounds. His cup of coffee in the bigs didn’t last long, and he tragically passed away from a heart attack in 2015, weighing a reported 450 pounds at the time.
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Pound for pound, power for power, though, it seems difficult to top Judge for the most impressive combination of the two attributes.
Believe it or not, he really is among the upper echelon for the heaviest players in MLB history: Young, Jonathan Broxton, Dmitri Young, Prince Fielder and Judge. Rarefied air, and you’d never really know it by looking at him?
Aaron Judge: not heaviest player in MLB history, not tallest player in MLB history, but largest star we’ve ever had
Put simply, Judge is the largest star Major League Baseball has ever harbored — and you’d barely know it stylistically. He sprints the outfield gracefully, covering large swaths of land with his effortless strides. He leaps walls in a single bound. He has the strike zone of a much smaller man.
And yet … right atop the metric leaderboards.
Now, there’s some stiff competition. His outfield mate Giancarlo Stanton is 6-6 and 245 pounds. Big Papi, David Ortiz? 6-3, 230. Literal NFL player Bo Jackson? 6-1, 220.
But Judge just isn’t even built like the players we considered behemoths not too long ago. The only one like Judge is Stanton, who concedes nearly 40 pounds to the brute over in right field.
Therein lies the reason many are reticent to hand over a long-term contract to Judge into his 30s, envisioning a body that simply can’t handle the rigors of the modern game much longer.
To that, we say: worst-case scenario, he’d be one hell of a DH and one spectacularly fun risk to take. Enjoy the show.