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Fever pitch in Linden as New York Yankee and local Aaron Judge chases history

Number 99 graduated from Linden High School and was a three-sport star athlete

LINDEN, Calif. — Aaron Judge may be a Major League Baseball superstar, but in his home town of Linden, he is also known for being a down-to-earth and humble guy.

"Just to watch him on TV do that with the Yankees blows me away," said childhood friend Zach Zylstra.

As of this writing, the New York Yankees right fielder has 60 home runs. That is just one short of the American League record of 61 held by another Yankee great, Roger Maris.

Zylstra helps run his family hardware store and has known Judge since he was ten. Despite the stardom, he said his friend hasn't changed.

"He's always been quiet, but he's always been nice to everybody. 60 home runs isn't low key, but he is low key as a person," Zylstra said.

While you will see tractors rolling through the center of town, you won't see giant Aaron Judge banners on buildings or even outside his alma mater, Linden High School.

However, inside Pizza Plus, there is a giant image of Aaron Judge on a wall.

"He's made a big name for a really small town, and I think it's crazy the achievements he's been able to accomplish," said Victoria Godwin, who works at the pizza restaurant.

Jacob Osterlie said about three years ago, Judge surprised his Linden High basketball team with new shoes. He also got his photo taken with Judge when he was 13.

"We got shoes. We got a warm-up suit and a backpack - all kinds of goodies. And, he came and warmed up with us, played a little bit before the game. It was really cool," Osterlie said.

Judge is a hometown hero with humble beginnings that he hasn't forgotten, and judging by his past, more baseball history is still ahead.

"It's something that a lot of people in this town are going to remember for the rest of their lives," Zylstra said.

Judge also has a non-profit called the "Aaron Judge All Rise Foundation." It was founded in 2017 by his mom Patty Judge, and it helps to "inspire children and youth to become responsible citizens."

Judge's adoptive parents are both in New York to witness their son's historical accomplishment in person.


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