Tag Archives: Aaron Boone

The two Phillies skippers to win Manager of the Year may surprise you

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Ozark was the first, and is one of just two Phillies managers to ever take home Manager of the Year honors

 

On Tuesday evening the 2019 Major League Baseball Manager of the Year Awards for the National and American Leagues will be announced.

As with Monday’s announcement of the Rookies of the Year, honorees were first named on social media by the IBWAA for their organization. That will be followed by a televised announcement on MLB Network at 6:00 pm EST for the Manager of the Year as chosen by the BBWAA.

The voters from the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America handed their honors out to Brian Snitker of the Atlanta Braves in the National League and Rocco Baldelli of the Minnesota Twins for the American League.

Finalists for this year’s BBWAA award in the National League are Craig Counsell of the Milwaukee Brewers, Mike Shildt of the Saint Louis Cardinals, and Brian Snitker of the Atlanta Braves.

My choice among these candidates would be Shildt. Prior to the season, most prognosticators had his Cardinals finishing behind the Brewers and Chicago Cubs. But the Cards won their first NL Central Division crown since 2015, turning last year’s worst defense in the NL into the league’s best.

While Shildt would be my pick among those finalists, he would not be my actual pick. I believe that Dave Martinez of the world champion Washington Nationals deserves the honor – and it has little to do with his club winning the first World Series in franchise history.

The Nationals were a dozen games below the .500 mark and sitting in fourth place in the NL East Division as May wound towards a close. Rather than throw in the towel, Martinez kept his team positive and focused. The Nats had the best record in the National League from that point to the end of the season.

Over in the American League, the finalists are Aaron Boone of the New York Yankees, Kevin Cash of the Tampa Bay Rays, and Rocco Baldelli of the Minnesota Twins.

A great case can be made for any of these men, as well as Oakland A’s skipper Bob Melvin. But my choice would be Baldelli. While the Twins were considered a possible playoff team entering the season, few saw them winning 101 games and capturing the AL Central crown in nearly wire-to-wire fashion.

The first recognized honors in this category were The Sporting News Manager of the Year Award, established in 1936. From that year through 1985, one winner for all of Major League Baseball was announced. Since 1986, The Sporting News has handed out honors in both the American and National Leagues.

The  Baseball Writers Association of America began honoring a Manager of the Year for both leagues with the 1983 season. Each member of a 30-member committee of the BBWAA submits a ballot listing a first, second, and third place finisher among the managers of each league. The manager with the highest score in each league wins the award.

Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa have won the BBWAA award four times, more than any other manager in history. Jim Leyland is the only skipper to be named Manager of the Year four times by The Sporting News.

The Phillies new manager Joe Girardi is the only person to be named as the BBWAA Manager of the Year while piloting a losing club. Girardi took those honors for keeping the 2006 Florida Marlins in the Wildcard playoff hunt until the season’s final weeks, despite working with the game’s lowest payroll.

Yesterday, I wrote about the four players who won the Rookie of the Year Award as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. Today, we’ll look at the history of the club in Manager of the Year Award voting.

It’s not much of a history, mind you. Only one manager of the club has ever taken the award as handed out by the BBWAA. And that manager was not either of the men who guided the Phillies to World Series glory. He was also honored in the same year by The Sporting News, which has named just one other Phillies manager as a winner of their award.

As I said earlier, the BBWAA award did not begin until 1983, so Dallas Green obviously would not have a plaque on his shelf for that 1980 championship. That year, The Sporting News chose to honor Bill Virdon of the Houston Astros, whose team the Phillies defeated in the NLCS, as their NL Manager of the Year.

And after guiding the Phillies to a second consecutive NL East crown and the 2008 World Series championship, Charlie Manuel finished as the runner-up to Lou Piniella of the Chicago Cubs in that year’s BBWAA voting.

Manuel would lead the Phillies to five consecutive NL East crowns, but never was awarded the Manager of the Year by the BBWAA or The Sporting News. Not even in 2007, when an underdog Phillies team rallied from seven games back on September 12 to capture their first division title in 14 years.

Manuel finished second to Bob Melvin of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2007 BBWAA voting. With his team established as favorites, ‘Uncle Charlie’ would finish just 6th in 2009, 5th in 2010, and 4th in 2011. That last was after guiding the Phillies to a 102-win season, the most regular season victories in franchise history.

Despite leading the “Whiz Kids” to a surprise National League pennant in 1950, manager Eddie Sawyer was passed over by The Sporting News in favor of Detroit Tigers skipper Red Rolfe, whose club had finished as the American League runners-up to the New York Yankees that year.

Paul Owens guided the Phillies “Wheeze Kids” to a 1983 NL pennant, but The Sporting News honors that year went to Tony La Russa, who had led the Chicago White Sox to a 99-win season and the AL West Division title in his first year as manager. In their first season giving out an award that year, the BBWAA handed the honors to the manager of the NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers, Tommy Lasorda.

A decade later, Jim Fregosi skippered the ‘Macho Row’ Phillies to a stunning NL East crown in a wire-to-wire performance, then on to a National League pennant. But Fregosi finished a close runner-up to Dusty Baker of the San Francisco Giants, whose club had won 103 games but finished as runners-up in the NL West. The Sporting News gave their award to Bobby Cox of the NL West champion Atlanta Braves.

So, which Phillies managers have been recognized as the Manager of the Year?

The first was Danny Ozark, who The Sporting News named as their winner after he guided the Phillies to the first of three consecutive National League East Division titles in the 1976 season.

It would then be a quarter-century until a second Phillies skipper was so honored. For leading the club to a second place finish in the NL East in 2001, Larry Bowa won the Manager of the Year Award from both The Sporting News and the BBWAA.

That’s it, Ozark and Bowa, the only two men to ever be named as the Manager of the Year with the Phillies. The hope now is that Girardi can put a second career Manager of the Year award in his trophy case and on his resume’ as soon as next year at this time.

 

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Off the DL and back on the mound, Phillies need Zach Eflin at 100%

Eflin off the DL, on the mound in Dodgers series opener
The Philadelphia Phillies open an intriguing three-game series on Monday night at Citizens Bank Park against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Interest in this series comes from a number of angles for Phillies fans. For many, that starts with the return to South Philly for the final time in the regular season of Chase Utley.
The former World Series hero and future Phillies Wall of Famer has announced his retirement at the conclusion of the 2018 season. He would only return again should the two teams meet in the postseason.
Another angle is the return of Manny Machado. The longtime Baltimore Orioles star was dealt to Los Angeles last week in exchange for a package of five minor league prospects.
The Phillies were rumored to be after Machado for weeks. They are believed to have finished as runners-up in the trade negotiations and will likely be serious bidders and leading contenders for his long-term services in the coming off-season.
I say the “return” because Machado has already faced the Phillies in three games this month while still with Baltimore. He went 3-12 with a double, two walks, a run scored, and an RBI during what were three Orioles losses.
Perhaps the most important of those items of interest is the fact that this is a match-up between a pair of first place ball clubs. The Phillies (55-43) hold a one-game lead over Atlanta in the NL East Division. The Dodgers (55-44) carry a 1.5 game edge over Arizona and a two-game lead on Colorado into this series.
For the Phillies, right-hander Zach Eflin will return to the mound to start in the opener. It will be the first start since prior to last week’s MLB All-Star Game break for the 24-year-old hurler.
Eflin has already faced Los Angeles once this season. Back on May 28 at Dodger Stadium he was drilled for five earned runs and seven hits, lasted just four innings, and suffered the loss during an 8-2 victory by the host Dodgers. Both Matt Kemp and Max Muncy homered off him that night.
In his last outing on July 9, Eflin went five innings in the first game of a doubleheader at Citi Field in what turned out to be a 10-inning walkoff victory for the host New York Mets. He allowed three earned runs on five hits, striking out four and walking none on the night, with 58 of his 84 pitches going for strikes.
After that start, Eflin developed a blister on the middle finger of his right (pitching) hand. The team decided to replace him with Enyel De Los Santos for what had been his regularly scheduled start last Sunday in Miami. The Phillies placed him on the 10-day disabled list, and the thinking was that he would have the entirety of the break to fully heal.
Per Jesse Morris, M.D. at thefantasydoctors.com: “As we know (think Rich Hill & Aaron Sanchez) these can linger and take a long time to heal.” Per Morris, that healing can take as long as six weeks in some cases. Eflin is returning quickly, and the hope is that he will suffer no setbacks and pick his season right back up where it left off.
Eflin has performed like a front-line starting pitcher this season. He will carry a 7-2 record with a 3.15 ERA and a 3.04 FIP into this start. In his first dozen outings, Eflin has allowed 60 hits over 68.2 innings with a 67/14 K:BB ratio.
Count the skipper of the New York Yankees, Aaron Boone, among those impressed by Eflin. After the righty had tossed seven shutout innings in a 3-0 victory over the Bronx Bombers on June 28, Boone commented as follows per Bill Evans of NJ.com:

“Fastball both sides of the plate, mixing in the slider. I knew we had a tough customer coming in. I know he’s been pitching well. Really, we saw three good pitchers for the Phillies in this series and Eflin, you can see why they’re kind of excited about him. I thought he threw the ball really well and really was in command, and he kind of shut us down.”

That is the Eflin that the Phillies need to see tonight, and over the remainder of the season. Quality starting pitching has been the single biggest factor in the club’s rise to the top of the divisional standings, and Eflin has provided a large share of that quality.

Baseball’s Boone family has much to celebrate on Father’s Day

Bob, Bret, Ray, and Aaron Boone (L-R)
When I was a kid, my hometown MLB team, the Philadelphia Phillies, introduced a young catcher by the name of Bob Boone.
Boone was 24-years old when he made his Phillies debut in September of 1972. It was the start of a full decade stretch as the Fightin’ Phils primary catcher. During that time the club would capture five NL East crowns, counting the first-half of the 1981 split-season.
Boone was the starting catcher for the 1980 World Series champions, receiving the pitch that Tug McGraw would throw past Willie Wilson of the Kansas City Royals to clinch that first-ever title in franchise history.
Traded to the then California (now Los Angeles) Angels for the 1982 season, Boone would ultimately play into his 40’s.
In 2005, Boone was elected to the Phillies Wall of Fame, the seventh member of that 1980 championship team so honored.
At some point while I was growing up, I learned that Boonie was a second-generation big leaguer. His father, Ray Boone, was an infielder who had spent 13 seasons in Major League Baseball.
The elder Boone came up as a shortstop with the Cleveland Indians in 1948. He would play in 974 of his 1,373 big league games on the left side of the infield. Boone played in 464 games at short and in 510 games at third base. He also appeared in 285 games at first base, and played second base once.
The two Boones were a rarity in the annals of MLB history. They were just the third father-son combination to become big league all-stars. Ray was an AL All-Star in 1954 and 1956 while with the Detroit Tigers. Bob would make the NL All-Star team three times (1976, 78, 79) and was also a 1983 AL All-Star while with the Angels.

FOLLOWING IN THEIR FATHER, AND GRANDFATHER, FOOTSTEPS

That would be an incredible enough legacy for most families. But it turns out that the Boone family was just getting started.
In early April of 1969 while Bob was a third baseman with the Phillies A-level team at Raleigh-Durham, his wife Sue gave birth to a son.
In August 1992, the Seattle Mariners called up that son, second baseman Bret Boone, to make his big league debut. With that appearance, the Boone’s became the very first three-generation family in MLB history.
Bret would also continue the family all-star legacy. He was a 3x AL All-Star with the Mariners. Bret would also win four Gold Glove awards and a pair of Silver Sluggers over a 14-year MLB career.
While Bob was at spring training prior to his first full season with the Phillies in March 1973, Sue gave birth to another son. You can guess what would happen.
On June 20, 1997 the Cincinnati Reds promoted 24-year old third baseman Aaron Boone to the big leagues. In the 2003 season, Aaron would join the Boone all-star contingent.
Aaron would ultimately play in a dozen MLB seasons. While with New York Yankees in 2003, his ALCS-winning walkoff home run became one of the most famous postseason moments in the long and glorious history of the Bronx Bombers.

FOURTH GENERATION ON THE WAY?

Ray passed away in October of 2004, so got to enjoy his son and then much of his grandsons careers. It is entirely fair to say that the Boone family has much to celebrate on Father’s Day already.
And yet it may not be over. Just this past week, the Boone’s took a step towards becoming the first-ever FOUR generation family in Major League Baseball history.
In the 38th round of the MLB Amateur Draft, the Washington Nationals selected middle infielder Jake Boone out of Torrey Pines High School in San Diego. Jake is Bret’s son, Aaron’s nephew, Bob’s Grandson, and Ray’s great-grandson.
His draft position may ultimately mean that Jake passes up the opportunity to turn pro right now. That, and the fact that he is a potential Ivy Leaguer, with a scholarship opportunity to Princeton University waiting for him.
Whether Jake ever reaches the big leagues, the Boone family has left a legacy that will be forever remembered as long as Major League Baseball is played. And if Jake does find his way to MLB one day, well, who’s to say will it end there?
I feel confident in saying that at some point in the next decade, if history is any guide, Jake will become father to a son. By the 2030’s, that youngster will be playing the game somewhere on the sandlots of America, trying his best to become the fifth generation of Boone’s to reach the pinnacle of the sport.
Happy Father’s Day to the Boone family, and to all fathers out there who love and enjoy the great American pastime of baseball.