To be honest, I thought this would be the year that a Yankees manager would finally be awarded with the American League Manager of the Year award. Alas, it was not to be: Minnesota’s Rocco Baldelli edged out Aaron Boone, who finished second. The last Yankee manager to win the award remains Joe Torre, all the way back in 1998.
To be fair, it was a very close race. Both Baldelli and Boone finished with 13 first-place votes; Baldelli won the award because he received four more second-place votes. Baldelli ultimately ended up with 106 total votes to Boone’s 96. Here is the complete vote:
As expected, it was a two-man race, as Boone tripled the score of third-place Rays skipper Kevin Cash.
I’ve seen a fair number of Yankee fans upset with the voting, and believe me, I get it. The Yankees set a Major League record for injuries in a single season this year and won 103 games anyway. As ESPN’s Sam Miller noted in what was my favorite-non-Views Yankee post of 2019, the Yankees were the “plucky underdogs of 2019, of course.“
Boone’s leadership certainly felt instrumental in keeping that ship steady and leading the breakouts of players like Gio Urshela, Cameron Maybin, Mike Tauchman, and so many others. These awards are all about expectations, and while the 2019 Yankees certainly lived up to those, it wasn’t with the team we all expected to man the field. If ever there would be a season in which a Yankee manager could overcome the (yes, I do believe this) Yankee bias in this award, it would have been this one.
Now, with all of that said, there is absolutely zero cause to get worked up over this. Minnesota certainly overcame expectations themselves, they won 100 games, set the MLB record for home runs in a single season, and won their division. Very few people would have predicted that before the season, and Baldelli deserves a lot of the credit for that if Boone does here in New York.
In other words, it would have been nice to see Boone win, as it would have been nice to see Girardi win before him. But honestly? It doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. These awards are subjective and both of them deserved it. Congratulations to Rocco Baldelli, and remember: the Yankees still swept the Twins in the ALDS. That was fun, and I’d take that 10 times out of 10. Wouldn’t you?