In 2017, all over his AL Rookie of the Year season, Aaron Judge was once requested if he was once considering about successful the MVP, too.
“I want to get a World Series ring first,” Judge said.
Judge is still hunting for his first World Series ring as the Yankees take on the Cleveland Guardians in the Division Series.
If Judge wants to see what a World Series ring looks like, he can look to his right in the Yankees clubhouse and ask Anthony Rizzo to show him the one he got with the 2016 Cubs (if Rizzo can find it). Rizzo is one of five current Yankees with a World Series ring.
“I’m not really sure where it is,” Rizzo said on Tuesday. “It’s somewhere. It’s somewhere safe.”
Continuing rightward down the rows of lockers, Judge can turn to injured outfielder Anthony Benintendi, who was a World Series champion with the 2018 Red Sox. Benintendi is with the team as he works to get back for a later round in this postseason.
Marwin Gonzalez earned a ring with the 2017 Astros. While many fans consider that championship tainted because of the Houston sign-stealing scandal, MLB still has it on the books, and Judge has made his peace with Gonzalez.
Matt Carpenter has a ring from his rookie season of 2011 when he played in seven games for the Cardinals, even though he was not on the postseason roster.
Aroldis Chapman, who is not with the team because he missed a workout before the playoffs and was sent home, still has a locker to Judge’s left. Chapman also has a World Series ring as the closer from the 2016 Cubs.
Players often say the ring’s the thing that motivates them. But what about once they get one? Do they wear it, or does it collect dust on a shelf or in a safety deposit box somewhere?
“It depends on the player,” Gonzalez said. “It depends on the personality. I have friends who wear it sometimes. I just brought it home that year, showed it to my family, and I gave it to my wife. She knows where it is. I don’t have any idea where it is. I think I’ll probably wear it when I retire.”
Carpenter, who returned from a broken foot to make the Yankees’ ALDS roster, said: “I never wear it. It’s like a trophy. Sits in my office.”
Judge said having teammates who have climbed baseball’s ultimate team mountain “plays into not getting overwhelmed at any moment. If you’ve been in the biggest situations, the biggest games, and to come out on top, it helps put everything into perspective. The crowd may be loud, the situation may be big, but it’s just another game.
“Having a guy like Marwin on the bench to come up, fill holes when we need him to, or just be that guy to talk things through with, that’s been big-time for us all year. We’ve seen what Carpenter can do, what Rizzo can do on a daily basis. When you’ve got that type of experience in this clubhouse and out on the field, it’s just kind of a calming presence, that’s for sure.”
Even though he was barely part of the Cardinals’ run in 2011, Carpenter said “it’s the greatest thing ever. Any time you can be part of a championship team, it’s why you play the game. Certainly quite a thrill.”
Gonzalez said he has talked about the experience with his teammates.
“We don’t talk about the rings,” he said. “We talk about the different things that you went through. It’s never easy. Everybody has their own stories. We share them sometimes.”
Active players probably don’t give their World Series rings much thought. Retired players do, though. Former Yankees reliever Jeff Nelson said he will sometimes wear one of his four rings when he does TV work for YES.
“I usually wear the 2000 one,” Nelson said, “because we beat the Mets.”
Said reliever Lou Trivino: “Everyone thinks about it. How amazing would it be to win the World Series? That’s why you play this game. That’s what you think about when you’re a kid. I know as a pitcher, it’s bases loaded, 3-2 count, ninth inning of the World Series. That’s what everyone thinks about.”
And the ring?
“I feel like I would wear it one time and I would put it in my safe and look at it once in a while,” Trivino said. “But I’m notoriously forgetful. The worst thing in the world would be to lose it somewhere.”
Trivino said he sometimes takes the subway to Yankee Stadium. Imagine leaving your World Series ring on the No. 4 train.
“And I will do that,” Trivino said. “Better to be careful.”