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Joe Judge

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Joseph Ignatius Judge

  • Bats Left, Throws Left
  • Height 5' 8½", Weight 155 lb.

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Joe Judge had a 20-year career in the major leagues as a first baseman. He broke in the year after Babe Ruth did, and finished up the year before the Babe finished.

He was a quick little fellow, playing at a time when first basemen needed to be fast on their feet, and when he retired, he held a host of fielding records at first base. The 1924 Washington Senators infield, of which he was a part, was famous for its sterling defense.

He broke in with the 1915 Washington Senators at age 21, when Walter Johnson, the 27-year-old star of the team, won 27 games. He stayed with the Senators through 1932. During that time, they won the pennant twice - in 1924, when they won the World Series, and in 1925, when they lost the World Series. He roomed with Johnson for seven years.

In the 1924 World Series, he hit .385, batting fifth in the lineup behind Sam Rice and Goose Goslin. In the 1925 World Series, he batted cleanup in several of the games as Rice had been moved to the lead-off spot.

Joe's most impressive year was 1920, when he hit .333 with 15 triples and scored 103 runs. He also hit 15 triples in 1917 and 1922 - his 159 career triples put him # 42 on the all-time major league list.

He wasn't a league leader, although he was a solid hitter. He ranks # 98 on the all-time list for doubles, with 433 and # 34 on the all-time list for sacrifice hits. His 2352 career hits put him just outside of the top 100 of all time.

One might have thought that when he played with the Senators in the 1932 season, in his 18th year with them, that he was the most senior Senator. But no. Sam Rice, who had broken in with Judge on the Senators in 1915, was also still with them after 18 years, and was four years older. Not only did Rice last a year longer with the Senators, but he had broken in with them one month earlier than Judge in 1915.

Judge finished his career playing two seasons with the Brooklyn Dodgers and Boston Red Sox. On the Dodgers, 36-year-old Lefty O'Doul was a teammate, as was Hack Wilson. On the Red Sox in 1934, 40-year-old Joe Judge and 40-year-old Herb Pennock closed out their careers in the same season.

The similarity scores method shows a variety of old-time players as similar to Judge, along with two more recent players who seem very similar to him: Keith Hernandez and Mark Grace.

After his playing career ended, Joe Judge was a Washington Senators coach in 1945 and 1946. From 1937 to 1958, except for the two years coaching at the major league level, he was the coach at Georgetown University. In 1990, he was inducted into the Hall of Stars, a Hall of Fame for athletes from the Washington, D.C. area.

Babe Ruth, in his book Babe Ruth's Own Book of Baseball, praised Judge for getting clutch hits.

Joe's grandson Mark Judge wrote a book about the Senators called Damn Senators: My Grandfather and the Story of Washington's Only World Series Championship.

When Joe was young, a postman had given Joe his first first-baseman's glove. Joe never forgot, and continually left tickets for the postman when the Senators came to New York. He also chatted with the postman before games, and although fined for doing so, nevertheless eventually continued to do it.

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