Aaron Judge succeeds Derek Jeter as 16th captain in franchise history


After plenty of speculation and assumption, Aaron Judge is indeed the next captain of the New York Yankees.

The team made it official at Wednesday’s press conference announcing Judge’s new nine-year deal with the Bombers, and Judge’s $360 million contract now includes an illustrious title of being the first Yankee captain since Derek Jeter, and joining other household names like Don Mattingly, Thurman Munson, and Willie Randolph, the latter being in attendance for Judge’s press conference on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium. Jeter also showed up at the press conference just before it began.

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"It is my great pleasure, thankfully…to welcome Aaron not only back to the Bronx, but to welcome Aaron back to the Bronx as the 16th captain of this great organization, the New York Yankees," Hal Steinbrenner said. "An honor and a position which he greatly deserves."

Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner had each said they would be open to naming Judge captain if he were to re-sign with the team this offseason, while teammates raved about the superstar’s leadership and makeup that would make him the perfect candidate to be the first captain since Jeter retired in 2014.

That's exactly what Steinbrenner told Judge in a late-night phone call hours before news of the signing was broken.

“It was actually 3 AM in California, Hal shot me a message saying, “what’s it gonna take to get this to the finish line, and we hopped on a quick call, and we worked some things out," Judge said. "At the very end, he spoke about how Thurman Munson and Willie Randolph were his favorite players, and how important being the Captain and that honor is to the organization. He presented it with me, and I was at a loss for words for what felt like minutes. I was pretty taken aback because that’s such an incredible honor. The list of individuals who've had this title, it’s such an honor.”

And now, a list that includes Gehrig, Munson, Randolph, Mattingly, and Jeter also includes Judge.

"That’s a pretty good list right there, not only of great players, but great ambassadors of the game," Judge said after naming some of the iconic captains in Yankee history. "This is an incredible honor that I don’t take lightly. I’m gonna continue to try to be the same leader I’ve been the last six years and lead by example…I’m here to embrace every single obstacle and continue to lead this team to not one, but multiple championships down the road."

Follow Ryan Chichester on Twitter: @ryanchichester1

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Dustin Satloff, Getty Images