The 33rd manager of the New York Yankees will wear number 17.
The Yankees re-introduced Aaron Boone to the New York media Wednesday as he put on the pinstripes for the first time in 13 years. And after the Yankees fell just one game short of the World Series last season, he knows expectations, as usual, are sky high in the Bronx.
“Obviously the expectations here, with the New York Yankees, is to win championships,” said Boone. “And certainly that’s always the goal when we set out each and every year, but what I’m most looking forward to is the chance to have an impact on young men, on young ballplayers, and being a part of them taking the next step to become championship level players.”
As a player, Boone helped the Yankees reach the 2003 World Series with a walk-off home run in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series against the Red Sox. The homer launched him into Yankees lore.
But since he stepped away from the game, to serve as an analyst for ESPN, he says there’s been an urge to get back.
“I just have felt this tug, I felt the game kind of calling me a little bit and I have found myself more and more looking at these games through a manager’s lens,” said the new Yankee Manager.
The Yankee brass says Boone separated himself from the field of candidates during a grueling 8-hour interview that included questions with some of the beat writers. Ultimately his ability to communicate and connect with the team set him apart.
“He’s going to do great here, he understands the market, he understands our fans expectations and he’s going to do great at dealing with these players,” said Hal Steinbrenner, the Yankees managing general partner.
But, with just two managers in the last 22 years, Boone has some big shoes to fill and no managerial experience to draw from. General Manager Brian Cashman remembered that he didn’t have any experience as a GM when George Steinbrenner chose him for the role back in 1998. Cashman said he was reminded of the boss’s words when interviewing Boone.
“I can go out and recycle somebody who’s done this job before with experience, or I’ve been told by enough people that I respect that you’re ready to do this and you’re capable of doing this. And he gave me the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Cashman. “So I reflected on that when I was making this decision.”
“The bottom line is the one thing that I know, and have lived, and am is baseball,” said Boone.