NEW YORK -- The defining moment of Aaron Boone’s second season piloting the Yankees occurred in the first game of a July 18 doubleheader at Yankee Stadium, when the incensed manager repeatedly pointed his finger in the face of home-plate umpire Brennan Miller, declaring that his hitters were “savages in that … box.”
Though Boone’s tirade was rewarded with an ejection and, later, a one-game suspension, his players applauded. Boone’s frustration with a young umpire’s inconsistent strike zone transformed into a rallying cry for the Yankees, who sported T-shirts celebrating the outburst as they charged to the franchise’s first American League East title in seven years.
Yet despite overcoming a Major League-record 30 players on the injured list to become the first manager in history to win 100 or more games in his first two seasons, Boone was not rewarded with hardware on Tuesday. The AL Manager of the Year Award went instead to the Twins’ Rocco Baldelli, with the Rays’ Kevin Cash finishing third.
Boone and Baldelli each 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. Baldelli had two third-place votes to Boone’s four, with Baldelli tallying 106 points to Boone’s 96.
Cash had 33 points, including three first-place votes, with the A’s Bob Melvin (19) and the Astros’ AJ Hinch (12) also receiving consideration.
Speaking on MLB Network prior to the announcement, Boone said that he has enjoyed his transition from the broadcast booth to his managerial post, having succeeded Joe Girardi prior to the 2018 campaign.
“I would say just, first and foremost, [I enjoy] getting back in the dugout and getting back into the fire,” Boone said. “There's nothing better than the competition of the game. When 7 o'clock comes around, all that goes with it and leads into that, the angst that goes into that, once you get in that 7 o'clock window -- it's like a sanctuary in there. There's nothing better than competing with guys that you have a lot of respect for and going for that common goal of getting the victory that night.”
Despite having no managerial or coaching experience prior to accepting the post, Boone has proven to be a favorite among his players. The 18th Yankees manager to have also played for the club, Boone has notched 203 regular-season victories, the second most by any Major League skipper through his first two years, behind only Ralph Houk of the Yankees (1961-62).
“When you first walk out there, there's a lot going on, but fortunately for me, I had great people around me -- great players, a great staff and front office that I feel like worked alongside me and helped me to be prepared as best I can,” Boone said.