NEW YORK -- Aaron Boone made history in his first two seasons as Yankees manager, becoming the first skipper ever to guide his team to back-to-back 100-win seasons in his first two years on the job.
Now he has an opportunity to make a different type of history.
Boone’s work on the bench was recognized Monday as he was named one of three finalists for the 2019 American League Manager of the Year Award, which is voted on by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
The other two finalists are Kevin Cash of the Rays and Rocco Baldelli of the Twins. The winner will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 12, at 6 p.m. ET, exclusively on MLB Network. Voting for the award took place prior to the start of the postseason.
The Yankees went 103-59 in 2019, capturing their first AL East title since 2012. Boone’s 203 victories in his first two years are the second-most by a Yankees manager, trailing only Ralph Houk, whose 1961-62 teams won 205 games combined. The pair also hold the distinction of being the only men to lead the Yankees to the postseason in each of their first two seasons as big league managers.
Boone placed fifth in AL Manager of the Year voting a year ago after leading the Yankees to a 100-win campaign and a Wild Card berth.
The Yankees thrived in spite of an incredible run of injuries, as 30 players spent time on the injured list during the course of the season. Boone’s ability to keep his players focused on the task at hand -- not to mention pushing the “Next Man Up” philosophy that embodied the club -- helped keep the Yankees on course.
“To the guys’ credit, they never, never used anything as an excuse and anyone that came into that room, there was an expectation of going out and performing and helping us win games,” Boone said in the days following the Yankees’ ALCS loss to the Astros. “One of the things I'm most proud of is how guys walked in that room with that focus in that expectation.”
Despite disappointing postseason defeats to the Red Sox and Astros during his two-year tenure, Boone said he uses those setbacks as “a powerful motivator” as he begins to look ahead to 2020.
Boone had never managed or coached at any level when Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman took a chance on him, and so far, the move has paid off.
“I feel so blessed to have walked into this situation, this organization,” Boone said. “To have an ownership like the Steinbrenners that set a great tone, that you want to come to work here, and Cash in the front office on down to my staff and our players, we have a lot of really talented people that do amazing work to put us in this position.”
Buck Showalter (1994) and Joe Torre (1996 and 1998) are the only Yankees managers to win the AL Manager of the Year award since it was first handed out by the BBWAA in 1983.