Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Meet a Manager: Aaron Boone

The hiring of Aaron Boone as the new manager of the New York Yankees was not a smooth one nor was it a popular one among fans as all sides had very strong opinions on the matter. Me personally, I couldn’t care less. That may come off as a little shocking given my very opinionated demeanor and tendency to rant and rave, but it shouldn’t. None of the managerial options stood out above the rest and I personally got the sense of “six of one, half dozen of the other” while looking over the candidates while following the interview process. Aaron Boone has no managerial or coaching experience, but neither did Carlos Beltran. Hensley Meulens would have been nice, but honestly how much impact does a manager really have? Especially on a team loaded with talent. How many times have we seen the talent bail out Joe Girardi over the past 10 years? More than once, so Yankees fans need to not panic so much and trust the process. Boone will be fine; the Yankees will be fine and we as a fan base and as an organization will survive this. Let’s meet the man that may already be more hated than Clueless Joe 1.0 and Clueless Joe 2.0, Mr. Aaron Boone. This is Meet a Manager: The Aaron Boone Edition.

Aaron John Boone was born on March 9, 1973 into the world of Major League Baseball. Aaron was the son of former Major League player Bob Boone, the grandson of Ray Boone and the brother of eventual Seattle Mariners star Bret Boone. Aaron spent time with the Cincinnati Reds, the New York Yankees, the Cleveland Indians, the Florida Marlins, the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros from 1997 through 2009 before eventually retiring and heading into the Broadcast booth with ESPN as a part of their Sunday Night Baseball crew as well as a contributor to Baseball Tonight, also on ESPN.

Boone’s amateur career started at Villa Park High School in Villa Park, California where he played for the school’s baseball team. During Boone’s senior season the right-hander was named the Century League’s co-player of the year, catching the eye of the then California Angels who selected Boone on the third day of the 1991 MLB First Year Players Draft. Boone did not sign and instead went to the University of South California where he played baseball for the USC Trojans. In 1993 Boone also played collegiate summer baseball for the Orleans Cardinals of the Cape Cod Baseball League leading his team to the league’s championship. Once again Boone’s name was called during the MLB Draft in 1994 but this time it was the Cincinnati Reds doing the selecting, and this time it was Boone who was signing the contract thus starting his professional career.

Boone toiled around in the Reds minor league system until making his debut in June of 1997 for the Reds. On the final day of the 1998 season Boone was a part of history with the Reds as on the last day of the season Cincinnati became the only team to every start two sets of brothers in their infield starting Stephen and Barry Larkin beside Bret and Aaron Boone. Boone started to become a household name in 2002 hitting 26 home runs and playing in all 162 games but the third baseman really began to catch the eye of the league when he was named to the 2003 All-Star Game for the National League. One team in particular took notice of Boone’s accomplishments that season and that team was the New York Yankees who traded three prospects to Cincinnati that summer for Boone’s services and Boone was worth every penny and every prospect. Why? The new shot heard round the world.

During Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series Boone hit a walk-off home run in the 11th inning of the Boston Red Sox starter Tim Wakefield to give the Yankees a dramatic 6-5 victory while also punching the team’s ticket to the World Series. Boone will forever be known for this home run as the Yankees prolonged the Curse of the Bambino for at least one more season. Boone was on top of the world after the 2003 season and the only thing that could bring him back down was a pick-up basketball game of all things. Boone was playing basketball, something that was specifically written into his contract that he was not supposed to be doing and tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee prompting the Yankees to release Boone on February 27, 2004. The Yankees later acquired Alex Rodriguez in a trade with the Texas Rangers while Boone went on to sign a two-year deal with the Cleveland Indians in June of 2004.

Boone missed the entire 2004 season with the knee injury before spending the 2005 and 2006 seasons with the Indians. Boone signed a one-year deal with the Marlins before the 2007, another one-year deal with the Washington Nationals before the 2008 season and a final one-year deal with the Houston Astros for the 2009 season before officially retiring in 2009. Boone underwent open-heart surgery to replace a bicuspid aortic valve in his heart missing most of the 2009 season. Boone made his return to baseball on August 10 playing for the Astros Double-A minor league team before being activated by the big-league club on September 1 when rosters expanded. Boone played the final month of the season with Houston before retiring at the end of the 2009 season.

Boone went on to become a guest analyst for MLB Network in 2009 covering the ALCS between the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim before joining the ESPN crew for Baseball Tonight and Monday Night Baseball in 2010. Boone also called the 2014 and 2015 and 2017 World Series for ESPN Radio with Dan Schulman.

Even if things don’t work out for Aaron as the manager of the New York Yankees don’t feel bad, Boone married Laura Cover and has her shoulder to cry on when he goes home every night. If that name sounds familiar Cover was a Playboy Playmate and was Miss October 1998. Boone is doing just fine. Welcome back Boonie!

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)