In 1973, George Steinbrenner bought the New York Yankees and said that he had a five year plan for the Yankees to become winners. That following season the Boss and Gabe Paul, the first GM of the Steinbrenner era, made a series of trades to help to move the plan along to make the Yankees better. One of the trades got the Yankees left handed pitcher Rudy May and a very good second baseman by the name of Sandy Alomar. Sandy wasn’t the greatest second baseman of all time but he was very solid. Sandy was a leader and he gave off a winning attitude. Thurman Munson said at the end of that season, that it was not a coincidence that we really started to jell as a team when Sandy got there. I don’t think that I have ever known anyone in the game that knows more about baseball then Sandy.
Alomar had two little boys that he used to bring to the ball park every day, Sandy Jr and Robbie. Sometimes at the end of games they used to sit by their dad and listen to him talk to the other players as he would analyze certain parts of the game. Sometimes the two boys would even ask questions. But not kid type questions, intelligent questions. Robbie always had a glove in his hand-always. When Billy Martin became the manager and they traded for Willie Randolph from the Pirates for Doc Medich after the 1975 season, Billy thought that the Yankees should keep Sandy as a utility player and mentor to Willie Randolph. The Boss was totally in agreement with that because he knew Sandy was like a player coach. This was why, thirty years later, when Willie Randolph became the Manager for the Mets, the first thing he did was hire Sandy Alomar as his bench coach. Willie never forgot the things that his mentor taught him and wanted the same things thought to his Mets team. It is also no surprise that Sandy’s two little boys would grow up to become all star major league players and Roberto would become the greatest second baseman of all time and is enshrined into Baseballs Hall of Fame. They are truly baseball royalty. Sandy Sr would coach for several teams after his playing days and manage winter ball in Puerto Rico for many years. He and his sons helped to pave the way for many players from the island to become terrific players in the big leagues. All three of the Alomars would have been wonderful big league managers if the opportunity had ever arisen.
When Reggie Jackson left the Yankees after the 1981 season, he went to the California Angels on a five year free agent deal. During Reggie’s time there I would visit him quite often. The Angels weren’t the Yankees but they were an interesting group. One of the players that caught my attention was their catcher Bob Boone. The reason being that he was a very intense guy. He always seem to have a plan. He studied the other team and liked to share his observations. Bob reminded me a lot of Sandy Alomar. Because Bob was so intense, it was hard for me to get close to him but he sure did have a strong work ethic. Bob also had two little boys that I saw around the Park named Bret and Aaron. Like the Alomar boys from a decade before, the Boone boys were little baseball players. Since I wasn’t a part of the Angels, I would only watch and admire and think back to the Alomars and wonder if this was deja vu.
Well we all know what happened. Bob would coach and later manage the Cincinnati Reds, son Bret would become an Allstar player for the Seattle Mariners and Aaron would hit one of the most famous homeruns in Yankees history.
Oh and by the way, Aaron was also named manager of the New York Yankees after spending eight years in the broadcast booth for ESPN. Naturally some people are going to question the fact that Aaron has never coached or managed at any level but neither did former Yankees second baseman Jerry Coleman who left the broadcast booth for the San Diego Padres to do a fine job as a manager.
In talking to some of Aaron’s colleagues, including Harold Reynolds who I consider one of my closer friends in the game, I think the Yankees have made a good and exciting choice for both the Yankees and their very loyal fan base.
I can guarantee you that between Brian Cashman, the Steinbrenner’s and the Yankees brain trust, there is a solid plan in place and evidently Aaron Boone is the right ingredient for that plan.
Let’s not forget that last week Cashman was awarded MLB executive of the year.
The Boone family, like the Alomar’s, are baseball royalty and if you have any of them associated with your team then your going to be better for it and you are going to have a real good chance to win. I am a very old school guy, however when you take a look at the Yankees and all that youth and talent, then Aaron Boone might just be the right choice at just the right time.
When I asked Robbie Alomar for his thoughts on Aaron Boone getting the managers job, Robbie said, “He’s got baseball in his blood so he’s gonna be just fine.”