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Aaron Boone is reportedly leaving ESPN after eight years on the network as an on-air baseball analyst which included his work on “Sunday Night Baseball”. On Dec. 1, multiple reports indicated he will be hired as the new manager of the New York Yankees — the 35th in its franchise history.
Boone had a 12-year career as a Major League Baseball player from 1997-2009 with various teams. His defining moment came as a New York Yankee in 2003 when he hit a walk-off game-winning solo home run in the 11th inning of Game 7 of the American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox to advance the Yankees into the World Series — to-date, the only player in MLB history to hit an extra-inning walk-off HR in Game 7 of a postseason series.
Aaron’s father Bob Boone was a catcher and manager. Aaron’s brother Bret Boone was a star second baseman, primarily with the Seattle Mariners. Aaron’s grandfather Ray Boone was also a major leaguer.
Aaron is also the descendant of American pioneer Daniel Boone.
Despite him not having any prior experience in coaching or managing at any level, the New York Daily News reported Aaron Boone impressed the Yankees brass including general manager Brian Cashman who “wanted a replacement that was a strong communicator who could be open-minded to new ideas — including analytics and performance-science.”
“I find myself managing games all the time and thinking about strategies and how I would handle different situations. It’s fair to question my experience in actually doing the job, but I would say in a way I’ve been preparing for this job for the last 44 years,” then-managerial candidate Boone told MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch on Nov. 17. “I feel like I am the guy that can hopefully help these guys go to another level as players. Obviously, they were able to accomplish a lot. Hopefully I can be a part of helping them take it to another level… It’s just understanding what it is to be a Yankee, what it is to play here and the expectations that go with it. Certainly the expectations now will be ramped up even more after such a successful season … I know what I would be signing up for.”
As for “Sunday Night Baseball,” analyst Jessica Mendoza is now (as of Dec. 1, 2017) its lone holdover personality entering the 2018 season. Play-by-play announcer Dan Shulman had departed the program at the end of the 2017 season.