I am Paul Ember and this is my first post for SABR Baseball Cards. I am out of SABR’s Connie Mack Chapter and typically concentrate on Phillies and Vintage cards.
However for my initial SABR column I would like to turn my attention to a new card that is creating a buzz in the collecting community.
2017 Topps #287 Aaron Judge (rc)
The 25 year old Judge is getting significant accolades for his 2017 batting outburst which has included AL Rookie of the Month honors for April.
Consequently his Topps “Rookie” card is also getting noticed. With the many different Bowman and minor league issues one could debate the validity of this as a RC, but that isn’t what I want to discuss here. I will just mentions this is Aaron Judge’s first card in Topps Flagship and leave the Rookie-ness of the card up for others to argue.
I like the card. It is a solid photo selection on Topps part, although I suppose one could quibble with selecting a defensive shot for a player projected to be an offensive threat. I think the 2017T design is ok, it does work well for a player jumping vertically so it is a plus for this particular card.
However one could argue for better cropping…
Did Judge Make the Catch?
If I was putting this card together I would have included the Baseball in the shot. Not sure why Topps elected not to, perhaps they wanted to avoid some apparel branding among the fans.
The shot was taken by New Jersey based Photographer Rich Schultz . His work has been featured in a number of Magazines and on several New York Post Covers. Over the last few years I have also found his photographs used on a few Topps Phillies cards including the 2015 Topps Chase Utley Team Issue card.
September 07 2016
The nice thing about Getty Images is that the photos are date stamped, which tells us that the Aaron Judge Photo was taken on September 7th of last year, a 2-0 Yankees victory over Toronto. Judge did not start the game, he entered the game as a defensive replacement in the 7th inning.
As to the question of Judge’s play on the ball, I am happy to report for him that yes he made the catch. The detailed description on the Getty Image not only tells us that Aaron Judge made the play but that the batter was Edwin Encarnacion. The play was the final out of the eighth and was one of two putouts that Judge recorded during three innings in the field.
As a batter Judge came to the plate once in the game facing Roberto Osuna. He flew out to Left Field.
Aaron Judge Rookie Card
There you have it, if Aaron Judge becomes the star that the Yankees hope he will become we now know that his Topps Rookie Card features a photo taken on September 7 2016 while making a catch of a fly ball off the bat of Edwin Incarnation. As a defensive replacement in the game Judge only batted once and did not get a hit. It was the 22nd game of Aaron Judge’s rookie season, at the time he had recorded a grand total of three career home runs.
2017 Topps #287 Aaron Judge (b-side)
Not sure why Aaron Judge goes with the handle @theJudge44 as his number is 99. Perhaps it is a tribute to Hank Aaron. Also wanted to note that his height is 6’7″. Don’t see that on the back of many baseball cards.
To further illustrate Judge’s size, here is a photo of him standing next to Ryan Howard at a Spring Training game in 2015.
Can’t recall many times I saw Ryan Howard standing next to a player bigger than himself.
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