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 AL Championship Series for the Yankees against Boston.
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 was among six people interviewed for the job and won out over 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.
New York’s choice of Boone was first reported by former Daily News columnist Bill Madden.
After missing out on the Yankees’ job, Thomson told the Phillies he is accepting an offer to become their bench coach, a person familiar that decision said. That person also spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision was not announced.
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 was the fourth of the candidates to interview with New York, going through about six hours of conversations at Yankee Stadium on Nov. 17.
“I would say in a way I’ve been preparing for this job for the last 44 years,” he said then.
Boone’s career with New York was brief. He 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. New York replaced him by acquiring Alex Rodriguez from Texas.
Owner Hal Steinbrenner said last month a lack of managing and coaching experience was a concern but not an insurmountable hurdle.
Boone’s 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 1992-2005.
“I’ve been going to the ballpark since I was 3 and 4 years old, and in a way managing the game from a very young age,” Aaron Boone said. “And then growing up where my dad was in the big leagues from the time I was born to the time I was in a senior in high school and being around great teams, great players, I’ve kind of lived this game as a kid.”
Boone had never interviewed previously for a manager opening. He had been at ESPN since his retirement as a player.
“I just feel like it’s started to really pull at me,” he said. “Especially the last few years, I find myself managing games all the time and thinking about strategies and how I would handle different situations.”
His dad has worked for the Washington Nationals since December 2004 and currently is an assistant general manager.
“He definitely recognizes how much it’s changed over the last couple years, five years, 10 years, to where — especially with analytics these days, it’s a different job,” Aaron Boone said. “There’s a lot to consider and there’s a lot of great information out there that is instilled into the game today. And it’s I think now more than ever more of a partnership from front office to manager.”
“We are an extension of the front office and a part of the front office,” he added, “and how we gather information and get it in the hands of the players is a very important part of the job nowadays.”