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Aaron Judge Awakens “The Ghosts” of Yankee Legends by Requesting New Uniforms


Yankee Captain Aaron Judge wearing the new-old away jersey this past week. (Courtesy of Associated Press)


As the Major League Baseball season approaches its midpoint, the New York Yankees unleash an offensive arsenal. The team currently leads the American League East with a 49-22 record and a team slugging percentage of .438, ranking third in the league. Despite facing some turbulence with tough losses and injuries to key players, the Yankees seem to have regained their footing. 


After sweeping the Kansas City Royals, Yankees Manager Aaron Boone commented, “A lot of good things obviously happened… Just everyone putting together really good at-bats … Great to see them coming out like that.”


In the 2023 season, the Yankees finished 82-80 while batting .227, marking a distinct turnaround as they now bat .293 as of this week. After such a disappointing 2023 season, fans may wonder what more than “really good at-bats” have resurrected the team. 


The answer: reawakening “the ghosts” of Yankee Stadium. 


But how so? The Yankees new away jerseys may be the key. In 2021, the Yankees played a game in throwback uniforms based on their 1919 style.  Unlike their typical away jerseys, this uniform is without white outlining and sleeve trim. Ronald Blum of the Associated Press reported that Yankee Captain Aaron Judge “loved the look” and wanted to bring it back. 


“This is what we should be wearing,” Judge told clubhouse manager Rob Cucuzza—and so they did. 


At the start of the 2024 season, the Yankees debuted their away jerseys without the white piping. They donned, as Judge remarks, “a good old-school look.” 


In adopting their new-old jerseys, the Yankees did more than invoke an old-school look: they reinvigorated past Yankee legends. 


Following the 2008 season, the old Yankee Stadium was torn down. Since then, fans have feared that “the ghosts” of Yankee legends would surround their team no more.


Judge’s inspiration—and “the ghosts” in question. (Courtesy of the Killeen Daily Herald)


Mickey Mantle famously recalled, “When I first came to Yankee Stadium I used to feel like the ghosts of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig were walking around in there." But even Mantle was among many who scorned the new stadium, saying,  “It just wasn't the same.” 

But “the ghosts” didn’t have to die with the stadium—not as far as Captain Derek Jeter was concerned. “Take the memories from this stadium, add them to the new memories to come at the new Yankee Stadium. And continue to pass them on from generation-to-generation,” Jeter told crowds after the final game in the old stadium. 


And taking the memories is just what the 2024 Yankees did. Though the team no longer walks the same ground as Yankees legends, their new uniforms call back to the team’s past. Their jerseys echo the spirit of Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Yogi Berra—all of whom wore the same style away jersey.


It took sixteen years for Yankees management to finally adhere to Jeter’s advice—to honor the memory of the old stadium. With Jeter’s words fulfilled, there has been a clear shift in the power of the 2024 Yankees. 


You can chalk it up to coincidence, a productive offseason, or a new roster. But maybe there’s a more productive question is to ask:


“Do you believe in ghosts?”


 

Edited by Hadlea Lindstrom

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