The New York Yankees’ pick of ESPN MLB analyst Aaron Boone as their new manager was an unconventional one, considering that Boone had never been a coach or manager at the MLB level. But Boone, officially named as the team’s manager Monday, has already been getting some advice on how to make the broadcasting-to-managing jump from someone who knows that transition well; Buck Martinez.
After wrapping up his playing career in 1986, Martinez became a broadcaster for the Toronto Blue Jays the next year, and took over as their manager in 2001. He held that role through part of the 2002 season before new GM J.P. Ricciardi fired him, then returned to the broadcast booth with the Orioles from 2003-09 and then the Jays from 2010 on. And Martinez told Ken Davidoff of The New York Post that Boone reached out to him about the broadcasting-to-managing transition while both were covering the World Series this fall:
“He asked me about my experience,” Buck Martinez said of Aaron Boone.
…“Once I got back into the dugout, it was a reminder of how quick the game is,” Martinez, who last played in 1986, said Saturday in a telephone interview. “It’s a great reminder for my broadcasting career to not be so critical when something happens on the field.
“No matter how long we’ve been in the game, you see something new happen. And then everyone on the bench looks at you and says, ‘What’s the rule on that one?’ I think that’s why it’s important to put together a great coaching staff.”
Davidoff’s piece notes that some others have made the broadcasting to managing transition without previous coaching experience, including Larry Dieker, a longtime broadcaster for the Astros who managed them from 1997-2001, and Jerry Coleman, who went from calling Padres games to managing them in 1980, then returned to the booth. (Bob Brenly’s move from announcer to manager with the Diamondbacks in 2001 doesn’t quite count, as he’d previously been a coach in the Giants’ organization.) But while the move worked out relatively well for Dieker, who won four division titles in five years (even if he never received another managing job afterwards), it was rougher for Coleman:
Jerry Coleman, a Yankees infielder during the Casey Stengel dynasty, was enjoying life as a Padres announcer when he decided to give managing the team a shot in 1980. The Padres went 73-89, finishing in last place in the NL West, and Jack McKeon, who took over as the team’s general manager in the middle of that campaign, fired Coleman at season’s end. Coleman returned to the comfort of the broadcast booth and stayed there until his passing in 2014.
In the ensuing years, McKeon said Saturday in a telephone interview, “[Coleman] thanked me so much. He said, ‘You did me the biggest favor of my life, getting me back to the radio booth.’ His heart wasn’t in it. He was away from it for so long, and we had a lousy club with gripers and complainers. That wasn’t Jerry’s style.”
We’ll see how things go for Boone with the Yankees. But one of the apparent points that sold the Yankees on him was the knowledge he’d gained from a wide variety of people throughout his years as a ESPN analyst, and this conversation with Martinez is a further example of that. At the least, Boone knows the right people to reach out to. Whether their advice will be helpful, and whether he’ll be able to implement it, is yet to be seen.