Why The Yankees’ 2018 Season Will Be Fueled By Black Power

As the Yankees kick off the promising 2018 season with a four-game series against division rival Toronto, its time for fans to immerse themselves in the reality of fielding a healthy lineup boasting three hitters in Aaron Judge, newly acquired NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton and explosive hitting catcher Gary Sanchez who are baseball players of color who combined to hit 144 home runs last season, which would have given them more than the 128 the entire San Francisco Giants team hit.

All three sluggers hit at least three homers this Spring Training. 

Ballpark Videos on Twitter

Yankees @ #Braves Giancarlo Stanton destroys a hanging breaking ball into the left field seats for a two-run homer, giving the Yankees a 4-0 lead in the 3rd MLB Gameday: https://t.co/d2UnfdyVSG https://t.co/5PV5nJHAXt

The expectations are sky high and The Bronx Bombers — led by two slugging Black Knights — are in a rare position to really influence diversity in baseball. With Judge and Stanton being of African-American descent, there havent been two Black players at the top of the MLB list of dominant power hitters since Willie Mays, Frank Robinson and Hank Aaron were changing the face of baseball and raising the standards for all-around dopeness in the late 1950s and 60s.    

Mays’ No. 24 became the most popular jersey for future generations of Black outfielders. It was a number also worn by Ken Griffey Jr. and Rickey Henderson as they dominated the 80s and 90s and into the 2000s (Then shortstop Derek Jeter arrived and No. 2 became the digits to rock and shortstop became the position to play).

The Shadow League on Twitter

Here is Aaron Judge’s three-run shot that JUST makes it over the left-field wall:

Today’s baseball youth are wearing No. 99 jerseys on the field in droves.  Its a number that was once given to players who werent staying on an MLB roster too long. There was a time when any baseball player wearing football numbers higher than Hank Aarons No. 44 was frowned upon and highly underestimated. Now, my son has switched from his No. 24 and No. 2 jerseys to No. 99 in honor of baseballs soul brother Number 1. 

Judge crashed the scene with a rookie record 52 bombs last season ad captivated the hearts of America with his performance at the Homerun Derby in Miami. His sick power and mammoth home runs quickly gained Judge a notoriety and global popularity that most African-American MLB players dont enjoy.  

The Shadow League on Twitter

Aaron Judge, the new face of baseball, becomes the all-time rookie home run king https://t.co/WisIRAn9xO

Judge exudes an iconic magnetism that hasnt been seen since Derek Jeter ended his illustrious 20-year career in pinstripes. Despite the five World Series titles and endless unforgettable clutch moments, you dont hear too many people moan about Jeter being gone anymore. Well, thats because Judge hit the ground pounding and helped the Yankees get back to the ALCS, something Jeter did almost every season since he won his first World Series in 1996. In fact, Judge had the highest selling rookie jersey in MLB history. Numbers don’t lie in baseball. 

Felipo on Twitter

Aaron Judge tops MLB jersey sales with the best-selling rookie jersey ever.

Judge and Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts (12th) were the only African-American players in the Top 20 in jersey sales in 2017. Stanton’s popularity suffered from playing for miserable bottom feeder Miami Marlins. His accomplishments were spectacular and getting a lot of burn on ESPN, but they were overshadowed by the success of guys who play for legendary franchises in huge baseball markets such as Chicago and LA. 

He will now experience the power of the pinstripes. He will easily crack the Top 10 in jersey sales this season and get more ink than hes ever imagined. Hell also be challenged like never before by the NY media and a shrewd and demanding fan base who is expecting to witness unprecedented feats of Black Power in the Bronx this season. 

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.