The pennant winners from the past two seasons — the Houston Astros, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians — are among the teams that lean heavily on this dynamic. Even so, all of those teams employ managers who had previous experience, at least as a coach.
“Look, obviously, experience is very valuable and should be a check mark for somebody,” Boone told reporters in a conference call after his interview with the Yankees. “In a way, I’ve been preparing for this job my entire life. I’ve been going to the ballpark since I was 3 or 4 years old.”
Boone is part of a three-generation baseball family. His grandfather Ray Boone was an infielder for six teams from 1948 through 1960. and his father, Bob, was one of the most durable catchers in major league history, lasting from 1972 through 1990. His older brother, Bret, was a three-time All-Star second baseman, playing from 1992 through 2005.
Aaron Boone played 12 seasons in the majors, mostly with Cincinnati, and spent only three months with the Yankees in 2003. But he made his stay memorable, blasting a Tim Wakefield knuckleball into the left-field seats in the bottom of the 11th inning of Game 7 of the American League Championship Series, defeating the Boston Red Sox and sending the Yankees to the World Series.
The Yankees signed Boone to return as their third baseman in 2004, but when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament playing basketball that January, the team traded for Alex Rodriguez and cut Boone, costing him most of his $5.75 million salary. His honesty in reporting how the injury happened made a strong impression on Cashman at the time.
Boone said he had interviewed for front office and coaching roles in recent years, but never for a manager’s job. He said Cashman contacted him about succeeding Girardi, whose contract was not renewed despite the Yankees’ surprising surge to the A.L.C.S.
Cashman said he had grown concerned about Girardi’s ability to connect with a young roster, and in Boone, he chose a candidate who has long been known as a skilled communicator. Boone has more than 123,000 followers on Twitter (@AaronBoone_ESPN) and more than 4,200 on Instagram.
The average age of Girardi’s first seven Yankees rosters was always between 29.3 and 31.8 years, according to Baseball Reference. The average age of his last three teams has been a little over 27. Boone, who is almost nine years younger than Girardi, will perhaps forge stronger bonds with a young core that includes right fielder Aaron Judge, catcher Gary Sanchez, first baseman Greg Bird and pitchers Luis Severino and Dellin Betances.
Whatever their relationship with Girardi, those players helped the Yankees win the top A.L. wild card spot and make a deep playoff run, a rapid rise for a team that seemed to be in transition. After his job interview, Boone said he grasped the demands.
“I understand what it is to be a Yankee,” he said. “Expectations are ramped up even more. I know what I’d be signing up for.”
The Yankees, who for weeks had baseball’s only managerial vacancy, also interviewed Rob Thomson, Eric Wedge, Chris Woodward, Carlos Beltran and Hensley Meulens, who was considered the runner-up to Boone.
Thomson, who had spent 28 seasons in the Yankees’ organization, most recently as the bench coach, is finalizing a deal to fill that role for the Philadelphia Phillies. Larry Rothschild is signed to return as the Yankees’ pitching coach for next season, but the team must now begin filling the rest of Boone’s staff.