Add one more accolade to Aaron Judge’s mantle.
The New York Yankees slugger was named Male Athlete of the Year for 2022 by the Associated Press on Friday.
Judge earned 12 first-place votes in the process, beating out Los Angeles Angels two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani, as well as Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry and Spanish tennis player Carlos Alcaraz, among others.
“Wow. That’s incredible,” Judge told 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 30-year-old is fresh off an iconic season at the plate, setting a new American League record by hitting 62 homers, surpassing Yankees great Roger Maris. It’s the most home runs in a single season since Barry Bonds (73) and Sammy Sosa (64) each eclipsed the 60-homer mark in 2001.
That output helped propel him to his first MVP award, also beating out Ohtani, who was the reigning AL MVP and AP Male Athlete of the Year.
Judge also hit .311/.425/.686 with 131 RBIs and 16 steals, coming tantalizingly close to winning the Triple Crown but ultimately finishing second in batting average.
The four-time All-Star’s 11.4 WAR is the highest single-season total since Bonds in 2004, according to FanGraphs. He’s only the sixth player to surpass the 10-WAR threshold since the turn of the century, joining Bonds (2001-04), Mike Trout (2012-13), Mookie Betts (2018), Buster Posey (2012), and Alex Rodriguez (2002).
Judge hit free agency after his remarkable platform campaign but returned to the Yankees on a freshly minted nine-year, $360-million contract earlier this winter. He was then named captain of the historic franchise.
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