Aaron Judge is the current Face of Baseball.
That doesn’t mean he’s the best player — Mike Trout has consistently put up bigger numbers each year. But Judge is close in numbers, and he has a memorable face — very important. Trout doesn’t.
The criteria for becoming the Face of Baseball is arguable, but can be enumerated as:
- Have to be one of the best players in the game — offensively at least; all around game (defense too) is a plus.
- Have to be famous — a household name to people who don’t follow baseball or are casual fans.
- Have to have a Memorable face.
- Most of the time, have to have a Great personality — one that carries the game.
The Case for Judge
Judge is one of the elite sluggers and all-around players in the game and has been so since 2017, when he was robbed of the MVP (hit 52 homers, and we’ve since learned Jose Altuve was cheating that year).
Last year, Judge put up some of the biggest numbers in baseball: 39-98-.287 (.373 OBP). His .287 average put him 13th in the American League (in an era of low batting averages due to the computer-aided shift, and up thru June 18, 2021, pitchers using sticky stuff).
Judge won the Silver Slugger award for right field last year, should have won the Gold Glove, and finished 4th in the MVP balloting.
He’s a good looking guy, who always says the right thing — he hits to the opposite field like Derek Jeter — and always says the right thing like Jeter too.
Have to Have a Memorable Face
Mike Trout could sit across from you on a Subway car, or airport, or restaurant — and you would have no clue. At least 99.9 % of Americans wouldn’t.
A much, much higher percentage of Americans would recognize Aaron Judge, anywhere. First off, he’s 6’7″ tall — a Huge guy. Trout is 6’2.
And Aaron Judge has that memorable face — plus the huge numbers he’s put up in the biggest market, playing for the most famous team in all of baseball — as the Yankee right fielder, and last year, centerfielder.
For some evidence, look no further than who’s been consistently pictured on the cover of Topps Baseball Cards packaging the last 4 years:
2018 had Aaron Judge, Jose Altuve, Kris Bryant, Shohei Ohtani, Cody Bellinger, and Bryce Harper. No Trout.
2019 had Aaron Judge and Babe Ruth. And that is all.
2020 had Pete Alonso, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Aaron Judge, Ronald Acuna Jr. Mookie Betts, and Trout.
2021 had Trout, Aaron Judge, Fernando Tatis, Juan Soto, Ron Acuna, and Mookie Betts.
More so than Trout, Shohei Ohtani is now challenging Judge to become the Face of Baseball — as seen on this year’s Topps box:
Previous Faces of Baseball
Prior to Judge, the Face of Baseball was Derek Jeter.
The Face of Baseball in the 1990’s thru 2015 or so.
The first Face of Baseball was Babe Ruth. Ty Cobb preceded him but it wasn’t until Ruth that the Face of Baseball meant something — separated baseball from all other sports.
The greatest Face of Baseball of All Time.
The Face of Baseball in a time when there was little media about baseball.
Other Faces of Baseball:
Lou Gehrig shadowed Ruth as the Face of Baseball in the 1920’s and especially 1930’s, and 1940’s after the movie “Pride of the Yankees” came out in 1942, when Gehrig was played by Gary Cooper — who had a similar-looking face.
In the 1930’s and 1940’s and also after he retired, and married Marilyn Monroe, and later was Mr Coffee in the 1970s — Joe DiMaggio was the Face of Baseball. Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?
In the 1950’s thru 1960’s, Mickey Mantle was the Face of Baseball.
In the 1950’s into the 1960’s, the Say Hey Kid was the Face of Baseball, along with Mickey Mantle.
From 1974 onward when he broke the All Time Home Run record — Hank Aaron was the Face of Baseball. Before that he was not the Face of Baseball — Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays were.
In the late seventies, after the World Series heroics and especially after the candy bar came out, Reggie Jackson was the Face of Baseball. One of the few controversial Faces of Baseball.
For several years, when he was getting close to the Consecutive Games Played record, Cal Ripken was the Face of Baseball.
Comments? Did We Miss Anyone?
If you have comments or would like to suggest someone we missed — please provide feedback below.
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