Fresno State set to retire Aaron Judge's jersey number

Aaron Judge poses with the Fresno State mascot in California.|Art or Photo Credit: AP

FRESNO, Calif. – Fresno State Athletics announced Thursday it will retire Bulldog Baseball's No. 29 jersey in honor of former Diamond 'Dog and current MLB superstar Aaron Judge, as well as the No. 44 jersey of legendary former head coach Mike Batesole this fall.

Judge and Batesole will be honored with a jersey retirement celebration during halftime of the Fresno State football game on Nov. 18 at Valley Children's Stadium, followed by a formal jersey retirement ceremony the next day, Sunday, Nov. 19, at 1 p.m. at Pete Beiden Field at Bob Bennett Stadium.

Judge's and Batesole's jerseys will be the 12th and 13th retired numbers, respectively, in Fresno State baseball history.

"Aaron Judge epitomizes all that Fresno State Athletics stands for, not only with respect to his remarkably high levels of athletic success, but more importantly in who he is as a person and the impact he makes on his communities," said Director of Athletics Terry Tumey. "We are blessed to have Aaron Judge representing Fresno State and the Diamond 'Dogs and we look forward to enshrining his name in its rightful place among the all-time greats to come through our baseball program."

2022 American League MVP Aaron Judge spent three seasons with the Bulldogs from 2011 to 2013 before being drafted in the first round of the 2013 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees. Since then, Judge has been honored as the Rookie of the Year (2017), 3x Silver Slugger (2017, 2021, 2022), Hank Aaron Award recipient (2022) and AL MVP (2022).

"It is an incredible and humbling honor having my number retired at Fresno State," said Aaron Judge. "I'm excited to come back and enjoy the moment with so many coaches, teammates, and alumni that made this possible."

Last season, the five-time MLB All-Star became the American League home run king by breaking the AL record for most home runs in a single season with 62. In his rookie season with the Yankees, Judge had a record-breaking year as he hit 52 home runs, was named an All-Star and became the first rookie to win the Home Run Derby.

As a Bulldog, Judge was named a Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American in 2011, as well as WAC Freshman of the Year as the starting center fielder. In 2012, Judge won the TD Ameritrade College Baseball Home Run Derby where he launched 16 home runs over the course of three rounds. Judge owned a .345 average with a total of 18 home runs and 109 RBI in 169 games in a Bulldog uniform until he was drafted in 2013.

Mike Batesole will join Bulldog coaching legends Pete Beiden and Bob Bennett as the only coaches in Bulldog baseball history to have their jerseys retired.

"Mike Batesole's tremendous impact on Fresno State baseball will never be forgotten," said Tumey. "Winning a national championship was his crowning achievement on the field of play, but the countless lives he positively impacted and the manner in which he led our program for 20 seasons are perhaps even more impressive. His mentorship of other coaches helped develop and define what it takes to be successful here at Fresno State. Bates deserves to see his name forever honored alongside Pete Beiden and Bob Bennett as the legends of our program and as one of the best college baseball coaches of all time."

Batesole, a two-time National Coach of the Year, guided the Diamond 'Dogs to the 2008 national championship by winning the College World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha.

"It's heartwarming to think of the sacrifices made by so many to get #44 honored in this way," said Mike Batesole on receiving this recognition. "Family, community, administration, alumni, boosters, coaches, and players - a piece of every one of them is going up there."

By taking the Bulldogs from Underdogs to Wonderdogs, Batesole's squad claimed the school's first Division I national championship for any men's sport while capturing hearts across the nation. His Bulldogs won seven straight conference titles from 2006-12 and made six NCAA appearances in that time, advancing to the regional title game three times before winning the National Championship.

In his 20-year tenure at Fresno State, Batesole produced 89 players who were selected in the annual Major League Baseball draft, including five First-Round draft picks (Richie Robnett in 2004, Matt Garza in 2005, Aaron Judge in 2013, Taylor Ward in 2015 and Ryan Jensen in 2019).

"So proud to share the day with Judgey," Batesole added on what it means to share this moment with Aaron Judge. "The integrity, class and humbleness that makes him a great teammate is the mark he left in our clubhouse - it will never be forgotten."

"Getting to share this moment with Bates is something we will never forget!" Judge added. "He is an incredible coach, mentor, and friend who changed Fresno State Baseball forever."

Tickets to the Fresno State football home contest featuring the Judge and Batesole jersey retirement celebration on Nov. 18 can be purchased at Admission to the jersey retirement ceremony on Nov. 19 at Pete Beiden Field at Bob Bennett Stadium will be free to fans and seats will be available on a first come first serve basis. Doors will open at noon with the program starting at 1 p.m.