Bill Gutman has written close to 200 books, many of them biographies of sports stars such as Michael Jordan, Brett Favre and Lance Armstrong. One of his latest, All Rise, The Aaron Judge Story, gives a glimpse into the life of the Bronx Bombers’ slugger.
Gutman’s easy-to-read narrative is ideal for young readers. As smooth as Gutman’s prose flows, the book is made even more enjoyable by the first-hand observances of Judge’s adoptive parents, his neighbors and childhood friends from his youth in California, high school college and pro coaches and team executives, sportscasters, and players who competed with and against him in college, the minors and major leagues. These viewsprovide readers with interesting insights into Judge’s youth, his rise to stardom and how he solidified himself as a Major League star.
For Gutman, Judge’s incredible 2017 rookie season, in which he took the baseball world by storm by hitting 52 home runs, winning the All Star Game Home Run Derby, the Rookie of The Year award and nearly leading the Yankees to the World Series, made the decision to write about him an easy one. “He was a great subject to write about due to his many and varied qualities, qualities that aren’t shared by many athletes today. Not only is he a fine role model for young athletes and young fans, but he also has the potential to become a Hall of Fame ballplayer. When the opportunity to write about him came along, I jumped at it. And I enjoyed every minute of the research and the writing.”
All Rise takes readers through the ups and downs of the 2017 season – from Judge’s meteoric start, to his slump, to his agonizing streak of 37 games with at least one strikeout to his strong rebound in time for the Yankees playoff run.
Judge’s on-field accomplishments were historic: He became just the fifth Yankee to hit 40 or more home runs in their age-25 season (joining Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle), the first rookie to hit 50 home runs in a season and joined Ted Williams as the only rookies in major league history to have 100 RBIs, runs scored and walks. All Risegives readers a front-row set to relive Judge’s accomplishments.
As prodigious as he was on the field, Gutman points out that Judge was just as revered for his humbleness and how he carried himself off the field. Joe Girardi, who managed the Yankees during Judge’s rookie season, calls Judge “a natural born leader. He’s like a big brother who watches over everybody. You’ve got the whole package with him.” The Yankee veteran Chase Headley added, “It’s fun to watch someone hit a long, long home run and just put his head down and go, and not show anybody up. Let the swing speak for itself. It’s refreshing.”
Gutman quotes Chris Archer, the Tampa Bay Rays pitcher, as saying that Judge was simply the face of baseball in 2017. “First of all, he plays in New York, and second he’s a presence. I mean, he’s six-foot-seven, 280, and he’s doing what he’s doing, so at this particular moment, it’s him. I’d say, in the past [Mike] Trout, definitely. [Bryce] Harper, definitely. But now? Aaron Judge. And he’s a good person. You can tell he’s very humble and keeps his nose clean. People say this, and he has a lot more to accomplish, but he may be the second coming of Derek Jeter.”
Gutman notes that opposing players and coaches were also quick to praise Judge. One was Terry Francona, one of the most respected mangers in baseball and whose team lost to the Yankees in the 2017 playoffs (after holding a 2-0 edge in the best-of-five game series). “I think he’s really good for the game. When you have young players that are that good and seem to behave and act with a lot of respect like he does, it’s really good for the game.”
All Rise, The Aaron Judge Story is an enjoyable and informative read for any baseball fan. Click here for more information about the book.
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