Breakout stars voted unanimous Rookie of the Year Award winners
By Matt Kelly
Cody Bellinger and Aaron Judge dominated many of this year's headlines with performances that most seasoned veterans only dream of having.
On Monday, these supremely talented rookies were tied together in history when they became only the fourth pair of unanimous winners of the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award in Major League history. The previous unanimous pairs: Nomar Garciaparra and Scott Rolen (1997), Mike Piazza and Tim Salmon ('93) and Mark McGwire and Benito Santiago ('87).
This suspense for this year's Rookie of the Year Awards was put to rest early, as Judge and Bellinger's 91 combined home runs far surpassed the 67 hit by McGwire and Santiago in '87 as the most by any pair of winners. That included the 52 clubbed by the prodigious Judge, surpassing McGwire's 49 as the most ever hit by a rookie, and Bellinger's 39, which surpassed the NL record of 38 set by Wally Berger (1930) and Frank Robinson ('56).
Can't get enough of these two sensational rookies? Below are more facts and figures you should know about Bellinger and Judge:
• The 2017 Rookies of the Year became the 22nd and 23rd unanimous winners of the award since it was first handed out to Robinson back in 1947. Bellinger joined his Dodgers teammate Corey Seager in claiming the NL award unanimously in back-to-back seasons, and Kris Bryant's unanimous selection in 2015 means there have been sweeps on the NL side in each of the past three years.
Judge is the first unanimous AL winner since White Sox slugger Jose Abreu in 2014.
• The previous three pairs of unanimous Rookie of the Year Award winners referenced above went on to combine for 42 All-Star seasons, 20 Silver Slugger Awards and 12 Gold Glove Awards in their Major League careers.
• Judge's astonishing pace of one home run for every 10.42 at-bats set a record for any qualified rookie in history. That surpassed McGwire's pace of one homer for every 11.37 at-bats, followed by Bellinger's 2017 pace of one round-tripper for every 12.31 at-bats. Judge's home run pace led all qualified AL hitters in 2017, rookie or not, while Bellinger's ranked second to Giancarlo Stanton in the Senior Circuit.
NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR VOTING
Cody Bellinger, LAD
Paul DeJong, STL
Josh Bell, PIT
Rhys Hoskins, PHI
German Marquez, COL
Manuel Margot, SD
Kyle Freeland, COL
Luis Castillo, CIN
Ian Happ, CHC
• Judge's seven multi-homer games in 2017 tied McGwire for the most by a rookie in a single season. Bellinger's six multi-homer performances rank right behind them in third.
• It's fitting that the Rookies of the Year came from the Dodgers and Yankees, as they are two of the most storied franchises in Major League Baseball, and this award specifically is part of their legacies. Bellinger is the Dodgers' 18th Rookie of the Year, by far the most of any club.
The next-closest team? That would be the Yankees, as Judge is New York's ninth Rookie of the Year and first since Derek Jeter in 1996.
• Bellinger is the 31st player to win Rookie of the Year after he was drafted out of high school, while Judge is the 46th player to win after he was drafted out of a college or university.
• Judge is the 21st Rookie of the Year from the state of California, by far the most winners from any of the 50 states. Bellinger, a native of Chandler, Ariz., is the first Rookie of the Year winner from the Grand Canyon State.
• Judge is the 39th outfielder to win Rookie of the Year, snapping a tie with pitchers (38) for the most award winners by position. Bellinger is the 13th first baseman to win Rookie of the Year, and the first NL first baseman to earn the honor since Phillies star Ryan Howard in 2005.
• Judge's 52 home runs were twice as many as the White Sox designated hitter Matt Davidson, the next-closest AL rookie.
• Judge matched his unbelievable power with a keen batting eye, drawing a rookie-record 127 walks. His .422 on-base percentage marked the highest recorded by any qualified rookie since Minnie Minoso also put up a .422 OBP in 1951.
• Judge is the third qualified rookie to record at least 100 runs, 100 walks and 100 runs batted in, joining Al Rosen (1950) and Ted Williams ('39).
• Bellinger's .581 slugging percentage marked the fourth-highest by any qualified NL rookie in history, sitting only behind George Watkins' .621 and Berger's .614 in 1930 and Albert Pujols' .610 mark in 2001.
• How important was Bellinger to the Dodgers? Los Angeles posted a stellar 89-38 record when Bellinger was in the lineup, and only 15-20 when he was not.
Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.