Aaron Boone never needed to be manager of the New York Yankees. He had already won his place in the hearts of Yankees fans. That came with his dramatic eleventh inning home run to beat the Boston Red Sox in the 2003 American League Championship series, sending Yankee Stadium into a frenzy and stamping the Yankees’ ticket to the World Series.
But Boone, never one to shy away from a challenge, could not resist jumping at the chance to shake the Yankees out of their three year dull drums. And he never lacked for confidence.
“I think it’s having that ability, and maybe it’s a little bit of an art form, but to have the ability to connect in the clubhouse with the guys, to have that trust factor, to have that your players understand that you do care about them, you’re putting the New York Yankees in this case in the forefront, as we’re going to do in the end always what’s best for the New York Yankees,” he said, according to the New York Daily News.
So as we approach the All-Star Game, it’s tempting to take a look at how Boone compares to the great Yankees’ managers. Of course, a little over a half season does not enshrine any manager into the Hall of Fame, but take a look at these career winning percentages of Yankees Managers according to Baseball Reference:
1. Aaron Boone .656
2. Dick Howser .632
3. Joe McCarthy .627
4. Casey Stengel .623
5. Bucy Harris .620
6. Joe Torre .605
7. Miller Huggins.597
8. Billy Martin .591
9. Bob Lemon .576
10.Yogi Berra .565
The list excludes Johnny Neun, who only managed 14 games, and Joe Girardi, who Boone knocked out of the Yankees top 10.
But there is still work to be done. There’s the matter of overtaking the Red Sox, leaping over the Houston Astros and winning the World Series. This year, there is no other alternative.
So lets see how Boone deals with tired pitching arms in late August and September. And lets see how he deals with the pressure of a late-season pennant race. But one thing is certain. Pressure didn’t phase him at all on one historic night in 2003.