Subjectively, I have always liked Aaron Boone as the manager for the New York Yankees. He has never caused me to scream at my TV for making a frustrating decision, though that certainly won’t apply for all fans. He’s also helmed the team through a period of success, at least in the regular season. How does Boone stack up compared to other recent Yankees managers? Baseball reference provides the relevant historical data.
Aaron Boone became manager of the Yankees after the Yankees let Joe Girardi go following the 2017 postseason. Since the 2018 season, the Yankees have compiled a 370-234 record with a .613 winning percentage over 604 games. Notably, the Yankees won 100 or more games during his first two seasons as the manager.
The COVID-shortened 2020 season features the worst record of his tenure with a 33 wins to 27 losses, good for a .550 winning percentage. Of course, the primary failure of the Yankees under Boone has been the fact that they haven’t even reached the World Series, let alone won it. The Yankees have only reached the Championship Series once under Boone.
Joe Girardi provided a lot of positive service to the Yankees over his 10-year tenure with the team, spanning 2008-2017. While under Girardi, the Yankees had a 910-710 win-loss record, good for a .562 winning percentage over 1620 games. During his second year of managing the Yankees in 2009, his team won a World Series by riding the efforts of a veteran roster. A few years after the championship, the Yankees entered the malaise era of Yankees baseball, featuring a number of mediocre teams. However, the Yankees stuck with Girardi for quite some time, perhaps in part because of his ability to coax reasonable season from those mediocre squads, until abruptly moving on from him following the 2017 season.
Before moving to Joe Girardi, the Yankees employed the venerable Joe Torre for 12 years from 1996 to 2007. During that 12 year span, the Yankees won 1173 games to 767 losses, good for a winning percentage of .605 through 1942 games. Torre had the most success of any of the recent Yankee Managers. During his first five seasons as the Manager, the Yankees won four World Series. After those World Series wins, the Yankees went to the World Series twice more, but failed to win it all.
Before Buck Showalter led the New York Mets as their manager, he skippered the Yankees for four seasons from 1992-1995. During those four seasons, the Yankees compiled a 313-268 record over 486 games, good for a .539 winning percentage. Only Showalter’s first season as the manager featured a losing record at 76-86. Technically, the Yankees only made the postseason once during Showalter’s tenure. However, the World Series was canceled in 1994 due to the labor dispute, and even though the Yankees were first in their division with a 70-43 record, there was not postseason to participate in. The 1995 Yankees finished second in the AL East, and made it to the ALDS where they lost.
So what can we glean from the last few Yankee managers? Ultimately, the Yankees seem to give a significant amount of deference to winning in the postseason. After the success that Girardi and Torre had out the gate, the Yankees stuck with them for more than a decade each. However, in contrast, Buck Showalter shows how the Yankees are willing to move on from a manager when they fail to win a World Series even if their teams perform well in the regular season. Interestingly, Boone has a better winning percentage than any of the recent Yankees managers, with only Torre close to him. If Aaron Boone does not win a World Series or get very close this season, it is certainly possible that the Yankees decide to move on from Boone, as they have shown a propensity to do.