- When Aaron's Mom, Susan, was asked how Aaron John Boone got his name, she said, "When I went into delivery, I had talked to Bob on the phone. We couldn't come up with a name for him. Bob said, "How about Aaron? It's the first name in the baby book." I said OK. And John's my father's name."
Recalling his youth, Aaron said, "What an awesome childhood. My Dad played in the Big Leagues until I was 16 or 17. To grow up and go to the field every day was awesome."
"Dad played with so many great players, like over with the Angels, with Reggie Jackson and Rod Carew and with George Brett," Boone said. "It was exciting and a great childhood with a lot of fond memories. If you ever asked me from the time I was little until now, what I wanted to do when I grew up, it would be to play baseball. I never really thought of anything else."
- Besides his Dad, Aaron said other favorite players were: Greg Luzinski, Garry Maddox, Bake McBride and Mike Schmidt.
- In 1991, the Angels drafted Aaron #43, but he went to the University of Southern California instead.
Third generation Major Leaguer: His grandfather (Ray), father (Bob), and brother (Bret) all have played in the Majors.
Aaron's uncle, Joe Noris, played in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues from 1971-1974.
A few years ago, Aaron's grandfather, Ray Boone (who died on October 16, 2004) said the genetics don't start with him."I credit my wife," said Ray, who has been married to Patricia since 1946. "She's the athlete in the family. She was and her twin sisters were champion synchronized swimmers. Her sister was a golf pro. And her brother was an All-America football player at Navy."
Ray was five years younger than another San Diego baseball player named Theodore Samuel Williams and he remembers being a young teen, riding his bike to a field to watch Teddy Ballgame hit. Ray wound up being bat boy for Williams's Legion team, and when the score got lopsided, sometimes they let Ray take a few hacks.
Ray Boone was a scout for the Red Sox for over 40 years. Thirteen of the guys he signed made it to the majors, including Dave Morehead, Tony Muser, Marty Barrett, Kevin Romine, and Curt Schilling. Yes, Curt Schilling. Ray saw skinny, young Schilling pitch for Yavapai Junior College in 1985 and the Sox drafted Schilling in January 1986.
- At six-feet-two, Aaron more resembles his father, Bob, than his brother, Bret, who is four inches shorter.
- Despite being four years younger than Bret, and never playing at the same level, the two brothers had a lot of baseball battles at home. "We had a sweet Wiffle Ball field in the backyard," Aaron said, adding he was the Wiffle Ball champion of his household.
- After he signed with the Reds in 1994, Aaron was sent to Billings, Montana. "I had such an unbelievable situation in Billings," Aaron recalled. "I lived with a great family that I am still friends with to this day. They lived right on a golf course and had two kids. One was a senior in high school and the other was a junior. They were great kids. The boy and I lived downstairs in the basement and we each had our own room. They cooked for me, everything. It was unbelievable."
- Aaron brings a mature, knowledgeable approach to the game. He is a leader on the field and is good for a team.
On June 20, 1997, when Aaron first got called up to the Majors, it was his older brother, Bret, who got sent down to the minor leagues (but only for a few days).
He singled in his third at-bat and stole second, but was tagged out on a close play at the plate and was ejected by home plate ump Gary Darling for throwing his helmet in reaction to being called out.
- In June 1997, Aaron and Bret became the third set of brothers to play for the Reds during the same season. Previous brothers in a Cincy lineup in the same campaign: Ed and Jim Bailey (1959) and Elmer and Johnny Riddle (1941, 1944-1945).
- Of his desire to establish himself in the Majors, Aaron said, "I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to make a ton of money, and that's a driving force. But it's great to have an opportunity to do something you love."
- His work habits are impressive, including his diligent sessions in the batting cage.
- He was nicknamed "Arnie" by his family.
- In his spare time, Boone says, "I like the beach, going to the movies, and sitting around with friends and shooting the breeze."
- Aaron says his favorite meal is going to a good Japanese steak house.
- Boone's first job: "My Dad owned a construction company with my uncle in southern California. I cleaned up sites for him every once in awhile."
- Aaron said his favorite movies include, "Varsity Blues" -- "It was kind of cheesy, but I really liked it." And, he liked "The Shawshank Redemption," "Friday" ("90 minutes of laughter"); and "Swingers."
- As for music, Aaron mentioned Puff Daddy, Mariah Carey, Pearl Jam, Stevie Nicks' Greatest Hits, and Motley Crue.
- Aaron says his first car was a 1984 light blue Ford Bronco.
On October 16, 2003, Boone became a part of baseball history when he slugged an 11th-inning home run off Boston's Tim Wakefield to win Game 7 of the ALCS and send the Yankees to the 2003 World Series against the Marlins.
Aaron became a bit of a "Mr. October" with that home run. In October 1998, his wife, Laura, she was the Playboy centerfold . . . yes, "Miss October."
Aaron is the only member of the Boone family to hit a World Series home run. Aaron hit his in Game 3 of the 2003 classic. Boone's grandfather, Ray, his father Bob, and his brother Bret, have all played in the World Series, the only family with four members to play in the Fall Classic.
HISTORIC FATHER AND SON COMBO
- In 2001, his Dad, Bob, and Aaron became the fifth father-son, manager-player combination in the history of Major League baseball. The others: Connie Mack managed his son, Earle, with the Philadelphia A's. Yogi Berra managed Dale with the Yankees. Cal Ripken Sr. managed Cal Jr. and Billy with the Orioles. Hal McRae managed Brian with the Royals. Felipe Alou managed Moises in Montreal.
- Of what his teammates say about his father being the Reds' manager, Aaron said, "Griffey gives me a hard time. He calls me 'Gilligan' because my Dad's the skipper."
- Aaron is a good person. His mother, Susan Boone noted, "Aaron finds the best in everybody. You'll never hear Aaron talk negatively about someone. He'll always support the underdog and find the good in those people. And if he ever hears anyone, especially someone family-related, speaking unkind about anyone or anything, he'll be the first to say, 'You don't know what's gone on in this guy's life.' He has a kind, warm spirit when it comes to other people."
- Aaron has a big dog, a mastiff named Sarge.
July 15, 2009: Aaron's wife, Laura, delivered their second child, a daughter named Bella James.
One of the people Aaron leaned on heavily when trying to become a big league manager, something he eventually did when the Yankees hired him this past offseason, was Astros manager AJ Hinch.
Hinch (Stanford) and Boone (USC) were on rival teams in college, and they were teammates on a Team USA junior squad. Boone's father, longtime big league catcher and manager Bob Boone, was instrumental in introducing catching to Hinch when he was a teenager. Bob Boone went to Stanford.
"Had I known he was going to be good at this job I probably would have sabotaged," Hinch joked. "I have a lot of respect for him. His demeanor is showing well in an incredibly intense environment, and obviously the players have responded to him and he's doing some pretty good things. I haven't actually seen him at work, but I've talked to him a few times, and we share a lot of similar stories. There's 30 of these jobs. He's got one of them; I've got one of them, so there will be a brotherhood always."
When Boone would come through Houston as an ESPN broadcaster, he'd always stop in Hinch's office and "chat like old friends," though Boone made it no secret he desired to be a manager. Boone said the conversations with Hinch are easy because of their similar backgrounds and ages.
"He's someone that I respect a lot," Boone said. "Me getting into this for the first time, he's somebody that I leaned on, and we've spoken already during the season. We talk about things. He's somebody that's been a great sounding board for me, and we've developed a really good friendship." (McTaggart - mlb.com - 4/30/18)
Three weeks before Christmas 2017, Aaron Boone had pulled into his Arizona driveway, having shuttled his daughter, Bella, home from school. He glanced at his cell phone and saw a missed call from Yankees general manager Brian Cashman. Realizing that this was an important development, he then dialed the digits that would change both his career and his family life. In that brief conversation, Cashman asked Boone if he was all-in and understood the commitment level that would be expected, then revealed that he was recommending Boone to ownership. The news of Boone's hire as the next manager broke as USC and Stanford kicked off the Pac-12 championship game, and as Boone watched the action on the field from a skybox, he said his phone "just exploded" with calls and text messages.
Life would never be the same.
In his debut campaign, Boone guided the Yankees to 100 victories and a postseason appearance, and the former big league infielder has his sights set upon greater success as he prepares for 2019.
Boone recently joined MLB.com to discuss how his wife, Laura, and their four children are planning to spend the holidays.
MLB.com: What was the holiday season like in the Boone house?
Boone: Awesome. Probably truly my favorite time of year. We lived in Jersey and Philly through fifth grade, so a lot of those were us and the Luzinski family. They were our best friends and lived close, so I think we alternated every year, who hosted Christmas Eve and had a bunch of people in. Then when we moved back to Southern California, that's where all my relatives and extended family are, so usually Christmas Eve was either at one of my aunt's or uncle's houses, or our house. Just a special time, special memories with family and friends. Now looking forward to my first Christmas being back east again; my mom and dad are coming out, my little brother and wife and daughter. We'll have a full house.
MLB.com: What are your favorite memories of Christmas morning?
Boone: A couple of my favorite gifts: Mo Cheeks with the Sixers was my childhood hero, and one year I got an authentic Mo Cheeks jersey. I think I was 10. I remember that gift, just wearing that jersey all the time. It was really cool. Another Christmas as an adult, my dad on Christmas morning got me a Reggie White jersey. It was the day before he died (in 2004). I woke up the next day, he had gotten me that jersey and we got the news. That was kind of eerie.
MLB.com: How different is the holiday season now that you're a dad?
Boone: Way different. Now you always tend to think more about the kids and making it special for them. Maybe it's a little less selfish and a little more thinking about everyone else.
MLB.com: Do you have any special holiday traditions around the house?
Boone: We do. Elf on the Shelf is big right now. That has been going on for several years and is still very big in our house. My daughter, it's a big deal waking up every morning. My mom is coming out, and we'll do Swedish meatballs on Christmas Eve.
MLB.com: You've talked about some of the favorite gifts you received. What about ones that you've given?
Boone: The first thing that jumps to my mind, when I was a kid, I had about $15 or $20 and my mom or dad would take us to the mall to get gifts. I remember getting my mom this piggy bank, this wooden pig that was kind of big. I just remember being so proud to buy that gift for her. I gave her this wooden piggy bank on Christmas. I think she still has it.
MLB.com: You were named Yankees manager just before Christmas 2017. How different is this for you, one year later?
Boone: Quite a bit. At this time last year, I was about a week into the job. A lot of the people who are here with us, I was just getting to know who they were, what their role was. Now I know everyone; I know people's roles. It's so much further along now than at this time last year. (B Hoch - MLB.com - Dec 21, 2018)
Aug 24, 2019: Aaron Boone rarely passes up an opportunity to return to the University of Southern California campus, so when the Yankees manager received an offer to speak to the Trojans' football team, it represented arguably his easiest call of the weekend.
At the invitation of USC head coach Clay Helton, Boone spoke to the team for about an hour before reporting to Dodger Stadium. Yankees third-base coach Phil Nevin and director of mental conditioning Chad Bohling accompanied the skipper on his trip back to school.
"Fight on, baby," Boone said, summarizing his remarks. "Just the opportunity that they have in front of them, but also the opportunity that they have going to a great university."
Boone played three seasons in cardinal and gold from 1992-94, prior to the communications major being selected by the Reds in the third round of the ‘94 MLB Draft.
He traces his fandom for USC football to the mid-to-late 1980s -- when future NFL standout Rodney Peete played quarterback for the Trojans -- then grew more attached to the school when his older brother Bret attended.
In December 2017, Boone was in the stands watching his beloved Trojans take on Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship Game when news broke that he had been hired as the Yankees' next manager.
"Those of you that know me know how important that place is to me and how closely I follow them," Boone said. "For Coach Helton to invite me over and to get the opportunity to sit in a couple of their meetings this morning was a lot of fun." (B Hoch - MLB.com - Aug 24, 2019)
Oct 1, 2019: The name Aaron Boone was not on Brian Cashman’s mind as a managerial candidate when he watched his Yankees trudge off the field at the conclusion of the 2017 American League Championship Series, their season having ended one victory shy of facing the Dodgers in the World Series. When interviews began that autumn, Boone was not the first candidate invited to the Bronx, or the second or the third.
At that time, Boone claimed a solid playing career that included one pennant-clinching swing and a second life in the media that had placed him -- interestingly enough -- in Joe Girardi’s office prior to several postseason games.
Yet Boone’s managerial and coaching resume was as blank as his 2004 stat line -- the season he missed, having voided his contract (opening the door to Alex Rodriguez wearing pinstripes) by injuring his left knee playing pick-up basketball. When Boone’s name was mentioned to Cashman, the veteran general manager shrugged and essentially said, “Why not?”
“He was a dark-horse candidate,” Cashman recalled this week. “He was introduced to me from people I respect in the game, so I threw him on the list of, ‘OK, I'll at least look under the hood and see what's there.’ And I was blown away.”
Boone batted cleanup in a lineup of candidates that featured Rob Thomson, Eric Wedge and Hensley Meulens, to be followed by Chris Woodward and Carlos Beltrán. Each of the men was presented with a six-hour gauntlet to prove his readiness as the Yanks’ 33rd manager, with Boone recalling that his favorite exercise was distilling real-life stats (names deleted) into batting orders.
His performance secured the vote of the analytics staffers, who believed that Boone would represent an open-minded fit for the new-school world in which they operate. Boone’s decades of building a genial reputation as a player and with ESPN suggested that he could handle the twice-daily demands of fielding inquiries from the New York media contingent.
Boone also had the right life experience as a fourth-generation Major Leaguer whose father, Bob, managed the Royals and Reds in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But with no prior experience, it was fair to wonder how Boone would handle the challenges of serving as the head traffic cop in a clubhouse populated by so many different personalities.
“There was a lot of risk there,” Cashman said. “But our process was designed to lead us to the best candidate.”
Essentially handing Boone the keys to a Porsche of a roster and asking him to keep it between the dotted lines, Cashman believed that Boone would be a “plug and play” fit. Boone exceeded even the loftiest expectations, becoming the first manager in Major League history to log 100 or more victories in each of his first two seasons.
This year 2019, on the strength of their big-swinging offense and flame-throwing bullpen, the Yankees posted 103 wins and secured the American League East title despite withstanding a historic number of injuries, placing a Major League record 30 players on the injured list.
New York’s 100th victory secured the division crown; that night, Boone briefly addressed his players, telling them not to take the Yanks’ first division title since 2012 for granted. It was only after that speech and a bubbly alcohol bath that Boone learned of his achievement, reading congratulatory text messages from friends and family members.
“It’s a result of me being in an organization that’s really, really good at what we do,” Boone said. “We have really good players in that room, and especially this year, we’ve seen the depth players play a huge role. You are kind of humbled by it. I know it gets attached to me, but this is the result of an organization having two really good seasons. Now, hopefully we can take that next step.”
CC Sabathia, a one-time Indians teammate who predicted that Boone would find success as a skipper, said that Boone has been an ideal fit to guide a team whose success hinged on “Baby Bombers” Aaron Judge, Gary Sánchez and Gleyber Torres developing into stars.
“He’s been awesome, especially with this young group of guys,” Sabathia said before the 2019 playoffs began. “Being a young manager, just being able to relate to these guys, coming in every day -- no panic, no matter what’s happening. It starts with him. We’ve been able to have a great year, despite a lot of injuries and a lot of things going wrong, but we still won 100 games, and that’s because of him.”
Brett Gardner, who has witnessed the clubhouse transition from Derek Jeter to Judge while earning the title of the team’s longest-tenured player, agrees.
“I think it starts with our manager and trickles on down with the leadership we have in this room, guys coming in from other places and immediately buying in to what we're trying to do,” Gardner said. “They’re not trying to do too much, everybody just stepping up and doing their job when called upon. It's been a lot of fun to be a part of.”
Of course, no summary of the 2019 Bombers would be complete without Boone’s epic “Savages in the box” rant, a profanity-laced tirade directed at rookie umpire Brennan Miller on July 18. Though Boone seems embarrassed that it was caught on a live microphone, it gave his team an identity, spawning dozens of witty T-shirts -- many worn proudly to this day by Boone’s players.
“Sometimes in the heat of battle,” Boone said, almost sheepishly, “you utter some things.”
Boone’s 2019 wire-to-wire performance drew applause from managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner, who had bypassed the customary face-to-face interview and green-lighted Boone’s hiring based solely upon enthusiastic recommendations from Cashman and his staff.
"We faced a significant amount of adversity this year," Steinbrenner said. "Boone and the coaching staff, and especially the players, they stayed positive throughout. They had each other’s backs and never gave up. It's a winning mentality in that clubhouse. A long way to go, but we're going in strong."
And even Red Sox manager Alex Cora, whose 108-win performance in 2018 had the Yankees settling for a Wild Card berth and an early exit in the ALDS, said that Boone’s first-year performance did not receive the credit it deserved.
“Aaron actually has more wins in the big leagues than me,” Cora said. “He did an outstanding job last year. This guy, he knows the game. We’re managing in two markets where every move is second-guessed or first-guessed, and we know it. We did it on TV.”
Yet Boone refuses to celebrate prematurely. His commute to the Stadium from Greenwich, Conn., usually features a highway drive tuned to the mellow classic rock of SiriusXM’s “The Bridge,” but as late nights of preparation and planning accompany the push toward the Yankees’ ultimate goal, the couch in his office has frequently substituted for a bed.
That shows no signs of abating, at least until the Yanks rattle off the 11 wins that separate them from a parade float through the Canyon of Heroes.
“You are living in the moment and in the day so much,” Boone said. “That started from when I got hired into Spring Training, into the season and right away into the winter. It’s just been this constant daily trying to get better, move the organization forward and trying to put ourselves in a position to win a championship. I try to work really hard to be a part of that.”
Cashman, who once identified “communication and connectivity” as two reasons why the organization would not continue with Girardi, lauded Boone’s skills as a factor in why the Yankees could be the last team standing. From low-level office staffers to rookie reporters or star infielders, Boone has displayed the ability to handle each with an expert touch.
“I think at his core, he's just a good person that treats everybody with respect, no matter who you are,” Cashman said. “I feel like we got one of the better managers in the game, and we're lucky that we ran into him.” (B Hoch - MLB.com - Oct 1, 2019)
Nov 12, 2019: Boone was 2019 Mannger of the Year runner-up with 96 votes to the Twins Baldelli with 106 votes. Both received 13 first place votes from members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. The difference was Baldelli's 13 second-place votes to Boone’s nine.
- June 1994: The Reds chose Boone in the third round, out of USC.
- July 31, 2003: The Yankees sent lefthanded pitchers Brandon Claussen and Charlie Manning and cash to the Reds for Boone.
- February 25, 2004: The Yankees released him., reportedly giving him $917,553 as termination pay on the $5.8 million contract they voided because he "broke" his contract when he injured his knee playing basketball.
- June 26, 2004: Boone signed a two-year, $3.7 million contract with the Indians. The deal included a vesting option for 2006.
- December 29, 2006: Aaron signed a one-year, $925,000 contract with the Marlins. He can earn another $350,000 in performance bonuses.
- December 6, 2007: Boone signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Nationals.
- December 18, 2008: Aaron signed a one-year, $750,000 contract with the Astros.
|Birth City:||LaMesa, CA|
|Draft:||1994 - Reds #3 - Out of USC|
- He has a propensity for drawing walks. Boone says, "I know more what to look for at the plate. I've learned to work the count a little bit, and I think a lot of it is just maturity on my part. I've gotten more patient as I've gotten older."
Aaron no longer tries to pull everything. He adjusts to pitchers, now. In 1999, under the tutelage of former-Reds hitting coach Denis Menke, Boone simply quit trying to pull outside pitches. Instead, he started going with them to right field. "That allowed me to be more selective," Aaron said. "You get better pitches that way, and you make better contact."
Menke said, "He had to learn how to hit the outside pitch, because that's where they were pitching him."
- He has a good eye and makes decent contact to the whole field. But he has trouble with sliders and tough curves on the outside part of the plate. Those pitches he now lays off of. He likes to hit fastballs early in the count.
- Aaron will fake like he is going to bunt, but very rarely actually lays one down.
- Displaying Craig Biggio-like adeptness, Boone got hit by more pitches (10) than ever before in 2000. And he was hit by eight pitches in 2001.
- Boone shows all the savvy of a third-generation Big Leaguer. He makes adjustments at the plate quickly. But he still has trouble with inside heat.
- In 2002 Spring Training, he adjusted his batting stroke, expecting it to help him avoid being hit by pitches. He eliminated a slight kick of his left leg, which he thinks kept him from getting that foot down and out of the way and left him less able to recognize inside pitches. He now wears a hard brace on his right wrist while hitting.
- Aaron has to fight a tendency to "roll" his midsection, which he said lengthens his swing. He counteracts that by closing his front shoulder, which he said makes him snap his swing and improves his power to the opposite field.
- As of the start of the 2009 season, Aaron has a career batting average of .264 with 126 home runs and 555 RBI.
- Aaron provides a very dependable glove at third base.
Defense is the biggest strength of Aaron's game. Signed by the Reds as a third baseman, the position he played all through college at USC, it was at first thought that Boone may be moved behind the plate—the same way the Phillies moved his Dad after his first few years of pro ball.
But, at third base, Boone's instincts are great. That is probably inherited through his family. He has great reactions out there, and he reads situations real well. He just understands the game. And he is a gamer.
- He covers a lot of ground, with his very good, but not exceptional, range. He plays a very deep third base. He has become especially adept at coming in on choppers.
- His excellent instincts make up for feet that could be quicker moving to his left. He is very good going to this right, however.
- Aaron's arm strength is below average for a Major League third baseman, but he finds a way to make the plays. And he makes up for the arm with very accurate throws. However, he does occasionally flip the ball to first instead of cutting loose. But even when he does that, it is accurate.
- He reads the ball off the bat extremely well.
- Aaron has learned to play a number of other positions, too. He plays second base, shortstop and the outfield, too, if the need would arise.
- At third base, improved footwork in 2000 enabled him to move up a level in defensive ability. When he keeps his feet moving, he is an awesome third baseman. He plays the ball instead of letting the ball play him. When his feet get lazy, that is when he makes errors.
POST-PLAYING CAREER POSITIONS
February 23, 2010: Boone announced he was retiring from the game and joining ESPN as an analyst with the Baseball Tonight panel, as well as during some live games.
Dec 1, 2017: Aaron Boone has already helped the Yankees advance to one World Series. Now they want him to lead the franchise to its next one. Boone has been selected as the 35th manager in franchise history, two sources confirmed to MLB.com concluding a managerial search that began on October 26 and spanned five weeks.
Dec 1, 2017: Boone once took a $1 million pay cut because he didn't like the way he was playing. Any other questions about this guy's professionalism, resilience, grit and accountability? This is just one tidbit you'll learn about the reported new manager of the Yankees in the years ahead. Sure, this is an unconventional hire because Boone, 44, has never coached or managed at any level. On the other hand, if you're looking for the prototype of what a Major League manager must be in 2018, this might just be it. He's smart. He's a people person. He's also a third-generation Major Leaguer who has spent his entire life in and around the game.
In this era of baseball, when managers must coordinate an avalanche of information, it's the ability to communicate with players and to make sure they know you have their back that's critical. This Boone can do. This means that whether a player is hitting first or seventh or not in the lineup, he must believe that the decision was made with the best interests of the team in mind. This is what Boone does best. Did you catch him in his work as an ESPN analyst? He understands the X's and O's of the game, but more critical is that he knows that different things drive players.
He played for Jack McKeon and Joe Torre, two managers who were tough, demanding and also understanding. He played for his father, Bob, who taught him important lessons about what can be tolerated in a clubhouse and what must not be. There are things Aaron Boone can't know about the job because, well, he hasn't been there. How he deals with the day-to-day pressures of the job and the microscope that comes with running the Yankees, the managing of a bullpen, etc., no amount of experience in the Minors or as a member of a coaching staff could prepare him for that part of the deal. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman will help his new manager by surrounding him with an experienced coaching staff to assist with this growth process.
He was born to do this. His grandfather, Ray, played for six teams in 13 seasons. His dad, Bob, played 2,264 games and managed 815. Aaron's brother, Bret, played 14 seasons and was a three-time All-Star. Aaron? He has seen the game from its highest mountaintop and its lowest valley. He hit one of the most famous home runs in Yankees history, but also dealt with an assortment of knee surgeries, broken bones, concussions, trades and releases.
"I've had a great ride," he said late in his career. "I wouldn't change one second of it. It's all part of who I am. I've made a lot of great friends. I've got a great family. I'm pretty darn lucky. "Even those down times when you're battling back from another injury or scuffling during a tough few weeks are times you embrace, times that make you tougher. I still feel I have a little bit left."
His career to this point was defined by one amazing home run, but to the people who played with him, managed him and gotten to know him, he left a trail of goodwill along the way. There was the time one spring when beloved Hall of Fame baseball writer Hal McCoy, who has covered the Reds for five decades, decided he could no longer do his job because his vision was getting worse by the day. When Boone heard that McCoy was thinking of packing his bags, he took him aside. "I don't want to ever hear you say the word quit again," Boone told him. "He turned me around," McCoy said. "He's my all-time favorite."
When Boone tore up his knee playing basketball one offseason, he told the Yankees exactly what happened. That bit of honesty cost him millions. And there was the time he was playing so badly in Cleveland that he gave up around $1 million by restructuring his contract.
"I grew up with my dad taking us to ballparks," he said. "I was around a lot of great players. To grow up in that atmosphere can't help but rub off in a good way. "I just wanted to be a good player and get to the next level. [Bloodlines] never affected me. You've got a guy 60 feet away trying to get you out. You've got other things to worry about."
Now about that home run—an 11th-inning Game 7 stunner against the Red Sox that won the ALCS for the Yankees in 2003. "I tried to distance myself from it for a long time," Boone said. "I didn't like the questions, especially when I was playing for other teams [Indians, Marlins, Nationals]. I tried to run from it a little bit.
"Now I appreciate it and realize it's pretty cool that I got to be part of such a great moment. It's what I'm known for, and when I'm in an airport or a restaurant, it's what people want to talk about. I'm fine with it. This is a great game. I feel proud of it."
Dec 1, 2017: Aaron Boone's career ended in 2009 after he'd signed with the Astros. That spring, he stood in front of his teammates and wept when he told them he needed a complicated open-heart procedure called bicuspid aortic valve aneurysm surgery.
At that point, he doubted that he would play again and was content. He'd had a great career. In the four months after the surgery, he approached every goal—walking, eating, driving—with the focus of a World Series at-bat. He returned in September and got into 10 games down the stretch, and then at the age of 36, he called it a career. During his recovery from surgery, he heard from Will Ferrell, Billy Joel, and a long list of former teammates and friends.
One that especially touched him most came from someone he hardly knew, Glenn Hubbard, then third-base coach for the Braves.
"I barely knew him," Boone said. "We'd say hello, and that was about it. He just called to say he'd heard the news, was thinking about me, and had always admired the way I played. I mean, that's special when someone takes the time to do that." (R Justice - MLB.com - Dec 1, 2017)
- Dec 4, 2017: Nationals vice president of player development Bob Boone, a former Major League player and manager, said his son, Aaron, has the knowledge and preparation to succeed in his new role as manager of the Yankees, despite no previous experience as a skipper or coach. Bob said Aaron was "an excellent choice" and pointed to his son's eight years as an analyst on ESPN as a reference point for his strengths and readiness.
"[Aaron's broadcasting] preparation [was] very thorough on every player," said Bob Boone. "He certainly knows the Yankees. [ESPN] did a lot of Yankees and Red Sox games. The only thing he is going to be short on is having to learn some in-game action.
"His personality, his knowledge of the game will be spectacular. The way he deals with people is very special. He has been doing that for a long time. Aaron has the ability to do anything he wants. He is a very unique kid. I think he will handle [the Yankees job] as well as he handled the booth." Bob believes it's important for the coaching staff to be on the same page with Aaron. Would the elder Boone like to be part of his son's coaching staff?
"My comment is, 'I don't coach,'" Bob said, jokingly. "They took the managerial uniform away from me. So I'm not going back [to coaching] unless there is some real need. Somebody has to ask me. I'm surely not thinking about it."
Before becoming a broadcaster, Aaron played third base for 12 years in the big leagues, from 1997 to 2009, hitting .263 and making one All-Star appearance. Aaron played two-plus years for his father in Cincinnati, who was the manager of the Reds from 2001 to 2003. However, Aaron is best known for hitting the pennant-winning home run off Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield that helped the Yankees advance to the 2003 World Series.
"There is a natural respect for what he has done already in his life," Bob said. "The Yankees could care less if he managed three years in Double-A. It's kind of a movement thing. We have seen younger players with very little experience go on to the managerial ranks. I think it would be natural for him." (B Ladson - MLB.com - Dec 4, 2017)
- March 18, 1998: Aaron was told by doctors that he would eventually need surgery to correct a heart valve problem. But that it probably wouldn't be necessary for eight to ten years, or more. Aaron has had a heart murmur all his life, but there was more concern when valve leakage was detected. Eventually transplant of valves from the heart of a pig will take place.
- June 2000: A pitch from the Giants' Russ Ortiz glanced off Aaron's batting helmet and down on his nose, leaving him with a hairline fracture. When it happened he fell face-first to the ground, legs kicking in pain. He felt the blood on his face and said most of his problem was not pain but that he was scared.
- July 10, 2000: Boone went on the D.L. with a strained left knee. His 2000 season was over because surgery was required to repair a completely torn anterior cruciate ligament. Dr. James Andrews performed the operation in Birmingham, Alabama on August 8, assisted by Reds medical director Tim Kremchek, ending his season.
- May 16-June 14, 2001: Aaron went on the D.L. with a broken hamate bone in his right hand. He was hit by a pitch from Astros' pitcher Wade Miller in the fifth inning of the game the previous night.
- August 15, 2001: Aaron went on the D.L. with a fractured ulna bone in his right wrist. He was injured when he was hit by a pitch from the Cardinal pitcher Matt Morris. He was reactivated September 1.
- September 23, 2001: His left thumb was broken when he was hit by a pitch during a game. So four days later he had surgery to insert a pin and a wire in that left thumb. The pin was removed late in October, but the wire stayed.
January 16, 2004: Aaron tore the ACL in his left knee while playing basketball, probably missing the entire 2004 season. It was the second time Boone had torn the ACL, having had reconstructive surgery on the knee in August, 2000 (see above).
Basketball activity is prohibited, along with other certain activities, in Boone's contract. Aaron was looking for an alternative to the treadmill and jumped into a pickup game.
February 2004: Aaron finally had surgery for the basketball-related knee injury. Dr. Lewis Yocum, the Angels' medical director performed the procedure.
Originally scheduled for surgery February 10, it had to be postponed for a week because of a rash on Boone's knee.
June 24-end of 2007 season: Boone tripped over the mound while setting himself up to be the cutoff man in a relay. He suffered an MCL sprain in his knee and went on the D.L. for the rest of the season
September 4, 2007: Aaron underwent arthroscopic surgery on the left knee to repair a medial meniscus tear. The procedure was performed by Dr. Timothy Kremchek of Beacon Orthopedic in Cincinnati. Kremchek is the medical director for the Reds, with whom Boone played seven seasons.
"It was good to see him," said Boone of Kremchek. "I feel like I've got some answers. I know what to expect. It's a matter of getting scoped and getting on a rehab program."
July 7-August 14, 2008: Aaron was on the D.L. with a strained left calf. The injury occurred when the Nats were in Cincinnati and Boone was jogging to first base to pinch-run for Dmitri Young. Aaron managed to stay in the game and was forced out at second base on a subsequent bunt, but was unable to play after that for a couple of weeks.
March 18, 2009: Boone announced he was diagnosed as having a heart condition involving the aorta and aortic valve that would require heart surgery and end his season with the Astros before it started.
Aaron described his condition as "asymptomatic ... I've known about this since college, and I've always been asymptomatic. I kind of do my due diligence as far as getting my testing done yearly or whatever. I feel fine."
March 26, 2009: Boone had his aortic valve replaced.
On September 1, 2009, Aaron returned to the active roster with the Astros.