NEW YORK – OCTOBER 20: (L-R) Former New York Yankees Bucky Dent and Aaron Boone walk onto the field to throw out the cermonial first pitch prior to the Yankees playing against the Texas Rangers in Game Five of the ALCS during the 2010 MLB Playoffs at Yankee Stadium on October 20, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

A few weeks ago, the New York Yankees left more than a few heads thoroughly scratched after firing now-former manager Joe Girardi. Girardi had just finished taking a rebuidling Yankees squad, riddled with rookies and injuries, to the brink of a World Series appearance in a season in which they weren’t expected to contend seriously. Most teams would extend a manager after such a performance; however, as they love to remind everyone, the Yankees aren’t most teams. Girardi himself seemed caught off guard, to say the least, by his firing.

Now, after an extensive search that saw the Yankees interview a wide range of candidates, including Hensley Meulens and Carlos Beltran, New York has found it’s next skipper. Aaron Boone, a former player for the Bronx Bombers and broadcaster for the ESPN, will take over the helm and try to build on what Girardi started last season.

Yankees to Name Aaron Boone as Next Manager

Boone, 44, with be the 35th manager of one of baseball’s most storied franchises. Boone debuted as a player in 1997 for the Cincinnati Reds, where he played until 2003. He and his brother Bret Boone famously combined with Barry Larkin and Stephen Larkin to comprise the only infield ever to feature two sets of siblings. After his time in Cincy came to a close, Boone went on to play for the Yankees, the Cleveland Indians, the then-Florida Marlins, the Washington Nationals, and the Houston Astros. He retired from baseball in 2009, finishing with a .263/.326/.425 triple-slash line for his career.

Though he only spent one season in New York, it became the season that would define his playing career. In the 2003 ALCS, facing stalwart knuckleballer Tim Wakefield of the Boston Red Sox, Boone sent the Yankees to the World Series by hitting a walk-off home run in the 11th inning of Game 7. The Yankees went on to lose the World Series to the Marlins. However, with that hit, Boone forever took his place in the long history of the Yankees and Red Sox rivalry. He’ll now get several opportunities to enter into new chapters of that story, as he’ll face the Red Sox many times as manager.

Oddly, the Yankees limited their search to candidates with no prior managerial experience. While Boone may have a keen baseball mind, his ability to lead a group of players remains untested. As the Yankees feature a roster packed with young stars in need of veteran leadership, one might have expected them to hire someone with experience providing such direction. There’s no doubt Boone understands the game, and he’s inheriting a talented team. We’ll now get to see if he can turn that combination into a postseason run deeper than the one Girardi made last year.

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