“We’re chasing championships,” Boone said at Yankee Stadium after being introduced as the 33rd manager in franchise history.
He said he has been “locked in to the game” since he was 3 years old watching his father Bob Boone play for the Philadelphia Phillies at Veterans Stadium.
“This is a special day for me and my family,” said Boone, who was accompanied on stage by his wife Laura. “I want to thank the Steinbrenner family to entrusting me with this position. It feels like the chance of a lifetime for me.
Aaron Boone and Laura Boone stand together at Yankee Stadium in New York City on December 6, 2017. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
“Obviously, this is a team with loads of talent, a team that in many ways came of age this year and arrived. I’m really comfortable that me and my staff will be part of this team taking the next step.”
Boone signed a three-year contract through the 2020 season with a team option for 2021. He becomes the 18th Yankees manager to have played for the club.
The 44-year-old Boone has never been a manager or coach at any level since retiring after the 2009 season. He has been in the booth as an analyst for ESPN since his retirement.
Boone replaces Joe Girardi, who was fired on Oct. 26 — shortly after the Yankees fell one win shy of advancing to the World Series by losing Game 7 of the American League Championship Series to the Houston Astros.
Joe Torre (12 seasons) and Girardi (10) are the only others to manage the Yankees since 1996.
General manager Brian Cashman introduced Boone to the New York media on Wednesday.
“I know it’s been a long road and I know a lot of people are surprised we’re actually here,” Cashman said. “We are very proud to be introducing someone we think will be a great asset to this organization.”
Boone said his job interview with the Yankees lasted seven hours.
“It was long, it was tough, it was so fun,” Boone said. “I left here and people asked me, ‘How’d you do?’ My answer was, ‘I have no idea.’ I think I represented really well. I came out here to get the job. I was very much at peace waiting for the call to come down. When I got the call from Brian it was an emotional moment. Then it was hyper-focused on going from how can we get the Yankees better.”
Boone has been beloved in the Bronx since helping the Yankees to a 2003 World Series title with a walk-off home run in the 11th inning in Game 7 of the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox. In 54 regular-season games with the Yankees, Boone hit .254 with six homers, 31 RBIs and 31 runs scored.
Boone played 12 major league seasons as an infielder with Cincinnati (1997-2003), the Yankees (2003), Cleveland, Florida, Washington and Houston. He is a third-generation major leaguer with his grandfather (Ray Boone), his father (Bob) and his brother (Bret).
With the pinstripes back on again, Boone chose No. 17 and talked about the importance of having the respect of the players.
“Certainly the most important thing is going to be my relationship with players,” Boone said. “Hopefully it starts obviously with a relationship, but that’s a respect you earn. I think hopefully in short order I’ll be able to earn that respect.”