Yankees managers with zero prior managerial experience
The hiring of Aaron Boone as New York Yankees manager marks the ninth time the franchise has hired a manager with zero major-league or minor-league managerial experience. Of the previous eight, only Lou Piniella lasted two consecutive full seasons. Yogi Berra managed two, but 20 years apart. Yet, not all of those former skippers had a bad time in pinstripes.
Here’s a look back at a trend Boone will attempt to break.
Kid Elberfeld (1908)
Known as the “Tobasco Kid” during his playing days, Elberfeld was a player/manager for New York in 1908. Elberfeld, who played seven of his 14 years with New York, would continue playing with the club through 1909. In 1908, he took over for Clark Griffith and guided the New York Highlanders to a ledger of 21-71.
Hal Chase (1910-11)
Like his teammate Elberfeld, Chase was also a player/manager. Chase spent nine of his 15 seasons with New York, until 1913. Taking over for George Stallings in 1910, Chase’s Highlanders went 10-4 down the stretch. In 1911 the first baseman hit .315 but his squad went 76-76 and finished in sixth place.
Roger Peckinpaugh (1914)
Another player/manager, the 23-year-old shortstop finished out the campaign for the 60-74 Frank Chance. Peckinpaugh, who spent nine of his 17 seasons with New York, until 1921, went 10-10 down the stretch. Peckinpaugh had an OK track record as a manager, posting a mark of 490-481 in seven seasons as Cleveland Indians skipper.
Bob Shawkey (1930)
Shawkey had a representative career as a major-league pitcher in three seasons with the Philadelphia Athletics and 13 with the Yankees. Shawkey won 168 games in pinstripes and was a member of their 1923 World Series championship squad. In 1930, Shawkey’s Yankees went 86-68 and finished third in the American League. Put this in perspective: in 2017, Paul Molitor earned AL Manager of the Year and his 85-win Minnesota Twins claimed the second Wild Card. Yet, Shawkey was given his walking papers and never managed again. His successor Joe McCarthy would win seven titles in the Bronx.
Bill Dickey (1946)
The Hall of Fame catcher, who spent his entire career with the Yankees from 1928 to 1946, returned as a player/manager after serving in the military for two years in fighting World War II. An 11-time All-Star and eight-time world champion, Dickey was an All-Star during his final season in the Bronx in ’46. Between three managers, McCarthy, Dickey and Johnny Neun, the team went 87-67 and finished third in the AL. Dickey’s ledger was 57-48 in his lone managerial stint.
Another Hall of Fame catcher, Berra played 18 seasons with the Yankees, was a three-time MVP, played in 18 All-Star games and won 10 World Series titles. Berra’s 1964 squad won its fourth consecutive AL pennant, going 99-63. The 39-year-old Berra guided his club to Game 7 of the World Series, where they lost to Bob Gibson and the St. Louis Cardinals. Berra would have success with the crosstown New York Mets, taking the NL pennant with the 1973 Amazin’ Mets. In 1984, Yogi would return to the Bronx, finishing 87-75 and in third place in the AL East, in a season best known for the batting title race between Don Mattingly and Dave Winfield. Berra was unceremoniously fired by owner George Steinbrenner, after a 6-10 start in 1985 and wouldn’t return to Yankee Stadium until 1999.
Also, a former Yankees player in 1967-68, Howser was technically manager one game with the Yankees in 1978 when the club was between Billy Martin and Bob Lemon. After missing the playoffs in 1979, Howser brought the Yankees back to prominence, winning the AL East with a 103-59 mark. Yet, the Yankees were swept 3-0 by the Kansas City Royals and George Brett in the ALCS. The Yankees wouldn’t win 100 games again until 1998. Howser became the only manager to resign during the Steinbrenner era and would join the Royals in 1981, win 404 games there through 1986 and help Kansas City win its first title in 1985.
During his playing days as a Yankees outfielder, Piniella helped New York win titles in 1977-78, playing 11 seasons in the Bronx, until 1984. His 1986 club finished second in the AL East, posting a mark of 90-72. The following season the team went 89-73 and finished fourth. In 1988, Piniella was promoted to general manager but returned to the dugout after Billy Martin was fired again, Piniella finished with a 45-48 record and the club finished fifth. Following his Yankee managerial career, “Sweet Lou” guided the Cincinnati Reds to their most recent World Series title in 1990, helped the Seattle Mariners reach the postseason four times and his Chicago Cubs made the playoffs twice.