Boone has no prior managerial or coaching experience, but is a former major league player, including a memorable stint with the Yankees that included a walk-off, championship-winning home run in 2003 against the hated Boston Red Sox. He is the 35th man to become the Yankees manager, one of the highest-profile jobs in baseball and professional sports.
Despite his lack of management experience, Boone comes from a baseball family – his grandfather, father and brother all played in the big leagues – and his media savvy and winning personality were apparently enough to convince general manger Brian Cashman and owner Hal Steinbrenner that he was the right choice.
Boone was a game analyst and color commentator for ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, and a contributor to the network’s Baseball Tonight. He is 44 years old and last played in 2009. His appointment is in keeping with a recent major league trend towards younger managers.
Yankees fans will best remember Boone for his walk-off home run in the 11th inning of the 2003 American League Championship Series. The blow capped a 6-5 Yankees win and forever added a middle name beginning with an “F” to Boone’s name among Boston fans.
The glory of that moment was short-lived. Boone severely injured his knee during a pick-up basketball game the following February, and was cut from the Yankees for violating his contract, which prohibited such activities. It led to the Yankees acquiring all-star Alex Rodriguez and transforming the former shortstop into their new third baseman.
During his major league career, Boone also played for the Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Washington Nationals, Florida Marlins and Houston Astros.
Boone beat out San Francisco Giants coach and former Yankee Hensley Meulens, Yankees bench coach Rob Thomson, former Cleveland and Seattle manager Eric Wedge, Dodgers coach Chris Woodward, and former Yankee and recently retired Astro Carlos Beltran. Boone replaces Joe Girardi, whose contract expired and was not renewed even though he took the team to the seventh game of the AL championship series this year.