NEW YORK – Aaron Boone’s hiring was finalized Monday by the New York Yankees, who gave the ESPN broadcaster a three-year contract to succeed Joe Girardi as manager.
New York, which picked Boone over five other candidates last week, scheduled a news conference for Wednesday at Yankee Stadium. His deal contains a team option for 2021.
“I firmly believe that Aaron possesses the attributes needed to follow in the tradition of great Yankees managers,” owner Hal Steinbrenner said in a statement. “From all accounts, he is a polished communicator who possesses the ability to cultivate and grow relationships. Aaron has also spent a lifetime immersed in baseball, affording him a unique and intimate understanding of what fosters team success.”
Now 44, Boone has never been a manager or even a coach at any level since retiring as a player after the 2009 season. His 11th-inning home run off Boston’s Tim Wakefield won Game 7 of the 2003 AL Championship Series for the Yankees against Boston.
“Aaron’s name is already etched into Yankees history,” Steinbrenner said. “This opportunity will allow him to continue to make a positive impact on this organization in distinctly new and meaningful ways.”
Boone was a big league third baseman from 1997-2009 and an All-Star in 2003, when New York acquired him from the Reds at the trade deadline. Boone tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during a pickup basketball game in January 2004 and was released by the Yankees, who claimed he violated a prohibition against basketball in the guarantee language of his contract. He was replaced at third base by Alex Rodriguez.
The Boones are the first family to produce three generations of major leaguers. His grandfather, Ray, was a two-time All-Star infielder from 1948-60. His father, Bob, was a four-time All-Star catcher from 1972-90, then managed Kansas City from 1995-97 and Cincinnati from 2001-03. His brother, Bret, was a three-time All-Star second baseman in a big league career from 1992-05.
Aaron Boone will be part of only the third father-and-son pairing to manage in the major leagues, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. George and Dick Sisler, and Bob and Joel Skinner are the others.
Five days after New York lost to Houston in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman announced Oct. 26 that Girardi was not being offered a new contract after 10 seasons, the team’s 27th World Series title in 2009 and a 910-710 regular-season record. Cashman later said he was concerned over “ability to fully engage, communicate, connect with the playing personnel.”
Boone becomes the 17th of 30 managers working his first major league managing job and just the third with no previous managing or coaching experience at any level, joining Mike Matheny of St. Louis and Craig Counsell of Milwaukee. But Matheny spent two seasons as a special assistant in player development that included spring training work as a catching instructor, and Counsell was a special assistant to the Brewers’ general manager from 2012-15.
Boone is the third new manager among the 10 teams that reached this year’s playoffs after Boston’s Alex Cora and Washington’s Dave Martinez.
New York also interviewed Yankees bench coach Rob Thomson, former Cleveland and Seattle manager Eric Wedge, San Francisco bench coach Hensley Meulens, Los Angeles Dodgers third base coach Chris Woodward and former Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran, who retired as a player after winning his first World Series this year with Houston.
“When we had the opportunity to speak with Aaron and share concepts and ideas, he was able to showcase a variety of traits that we believe will strongly benefit this franchise as we move forward, including an astute mind for the game and a progressive approach to evolving strategies,” Cashman said in a statement. “We also believe Aaron’s interpersonal skills and baseball pedigree will allow him to blend well with the systems we have in place, our baseball operations staff and the 25-man roster.”
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