Aaron Judge enjoys special night at BBWAA dinner

Aaron Judge picked up three awards at the BBWAA dinner.|Art or Photo Credit: AP

_This story was excerpted from Bryan Hoch’s Yankees Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And_ subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

The stars were out this past weekend for the 98th annual Baseball Writers’ Association of America Awards dinner in New York, and no one shined brighter than Aaron Judge.

The new Yankees captain picked up three awards at the New York Hilton Midtown, including his 2022 American League Most Valuable Player Award. Judge was also honored with the Joe DiMaggio Toast of the Town Award and the Sid Mercer/Dick Young New York Player of the Year Award, bestowed by the New York BBWAA chapter.

“None of this would be possible without God surrounding me with so many great individuals,” Judge said. “I’d like to thank my wife, Samantha, for her love and support throughout the year and our lives. You continue to push me and motivate me, day in and day out, even if it’s 2:30 in the morning and we’re sitting on the couch, breaking down my film. You’re right there with me.

“My parents, Patty and Wayne. The sacrifices you made as I was growing up, I’ll never, ever forget that. You guys would come home from work, and I’d run up to you guys and say, ‘Hey, can we play catch? Can we go to the batting cage?’ You guys never said no. You never hesitated. All you would ask is, ‘Did you finish your homework?’”

Judge also thanked his representatives, the Yankees’ organization and the fans of New York for their support during his chase to eclipse Roger Maris’ single-season American League home run record.

“Stepping up to the plate and seeing all of Yankee Stadium on their feet, phones out, you could kind of hear a pin drop,” Judge said. “It was a pretty surreal moment. You guys were with me every step of the way, and I can’t thank you enough for every high and every low moment of the season. You guys were with us and helped put me in this position.”

Judge said the 2022 season showed him that “no matter what you’re trying to accomplish, or anything you’re going through, you’re never alone” -- especially in New York.

During Saturday’s ceremony, the Yankees’ Anthony Rizzo was honored with the Joan Payson/Shannon Forde Community Service Award. Albert Pujols, Paul Goldschmidt, Sandy Alcantara, Justin Verlander, Julio Rodríguez, Michael Harris II and Jeremy Peña were among the luminaries also on the dais.

Other award recipients with New York connections included Edwin Díaz (Ben Epstein-Dan Castellano “Good Guy” Award), Buck Showalter (NL Manager of the Year), Gary Cohen, Ron Darling and Keith Hernandez (Willie, Mickey & the Duke Award), and Howie Rose and Mike Vaccaro (Arthur & Milton Richman “You Gotta Have Heart” Awards).