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Hinch-Boone bond goes back to junior ball

MLB.com @brianmctaggart

HOUSTON -- One of the people Aaron Boone 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.

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HOUSTON -- One of the people Aaron Boone 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.

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"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."

What's more, Boone and Astros television broadcaster Geoff Blum played against each other from the time they were 18, including when Blum was at Cal, and they were teammates with the Astros in 2009. Boone signed with the Astros prior to 2009 and missed most of the season after having his bicuspid aortic valve replaced during an eight-hour procedure at Stanford during Spring Training. He came back and played in September of that year before retiring.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

New York Yankees, Houston Astros