Saturday, December 16News That Matters

Aaron Boone was born into the game


Among the many intra-Boone exchanges that went over the transom Friday was one from the new Yankees manager’s father to his nephew.

“Aaron’s got some tickets,” Bob Boone, a Nationals vice president and senior adviser to general manager Mike Rizzo, informed his grandson, Jacob Boone, a baseball player for Princeton. “You’re probably going to be a really popular guy.”

Bob can boast of 2,264 major league games as a player and another 815 as a manager. Aaron Boone’s older brother, Bret, Jacob’s father, played 14 seasons in the majors and earned selection to three All-Star Games. The late Ray Boone — Bob’s dad, Bret and Aaron’s grandpa and Jacob’s great-grandfather — played in an impressive 1,373 games, to boot, and spent some time with the champion 1948 Indians.

As they hope to build another dynasty, the Yankees found themselves a new manager who’s part of his own baseball dynasty: His family.

Surely, the Yankees hope that osmosis can be a secret ingredient in this high-risk, high-reward hire.

“Absolutely, it helps that your daddy was in the game, but it has nothing to do with where you’re headed in the game,” Bob Boone told The Post in a telephone interview Friday night. “It means you’re not awed by the game. When you’re around [Steve] Carlton, [Pete] Rose, [Mike] Schmidt, [Greg] Luzinski, [Larry] Bowa, growing up and around them every day, you think, ‘The big leagues, that’s where I belong, I can play here.’ It’s the same way from a managing standpoint.”

Bob Boone, the catcher on the championship 1980 Phillies team that featured all of the aforementioned players, stopped playing after 1990. He managed the Athletics’ Triple-A Tacoma affiliate in 1992 and 1993 and served as Davey Johnson’s bench coach with the 1994 Reds before getting his first managing gig with the Royals. He took a more traditional path than his son, whom the Yankees will hire even though he has been only an ESPN broadcaster since his 2010 retirement.

Nevertheless, Bob Boone said he believes strongly enough in his son that he lobbied for him to get a chance in Washington with his own employers, who instead selected Dave Martinez to replace the fired Dusty Baker.

“It takes some time to learn how to be the boss and the leader, there’s no question,” Bob Boone said. “I think he’ll fall into it.”

He added: “I thought Aaron had a great shot, because I know him, and I know those other names they were throwing out.”

We chatted as Bob Boone watched his alma mater, Stanford, take on Aaron Boone’s alma mater, USC, in the Pac-12 championship game; Aaron was at the game in Northern California, Bob said. Bob vowed that his son will be a success because of his tremendous people skills, which you see if you have as much as one conversation with Aaron, and because of his knowledge of the industry’s player personnel thanks to the ESPN job.

“I think the way the game has changed, has gone through all of the stats stuff, the big job of the manager is really bringing your team together. I think that’s something that Aaron is spectacular at,” Bob Boone said. “He is so loved by so many people. He’s nothing like his dad.

“He’s smart. He has a great feel for people. People love him. I think his players are going to love him.”

Aaron’s dad marveled at the news he had absorbed in the last 24 hours: “For someone with no résumé to get the Yankee job, that doesn’t happen anymore. But the baseball world has gotten a little kooky.”

For sure, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman made clear from the outset he would be thinking out of the box on this hire. In ignoring one tradition of experience, Cashman tapped into another of the game’s grand traditions: Family. Can Aaron become the third Boone to get a ring? Will he procure Yankees tickets for the Princeton team?

His first assignment, though: Turn the Yankees’ roster into even more of a family than it was under Joe Girardi.

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