It took Aaron Boone less than two full seasons to make history as a manager.
In addition to guiding the Yankees to their first AL East title since 2012 with a 9-1 win over the Angels on Thursday night, Boone also became the first manager to win 100 games in each of his first two major league seasons.
“Good players,’’ Boone said. “I’ve been blessed to have two really good teams so far. Obviously, we have had a lot of players this year, just based on the adversity, but over and over again, it goes back to the players and you have to go out and get it done.’’
So far, they’ve done that — and the players don’t think Boone is giving himself enough credit.
“It starts with him,’’ CC Sabathia said. “We’ve been able to have a great year despite a lot of injuries and things going wrong, and I think it’s because of him.”
As an example, the injury-ravaged Yankees have used 53 different players and sent 30 players to the injured list.
Still, they’ve held a sizable lead for much of the season and kept the Rays and Red Sox behind them.
While they finished with 100 wins last year, they ended up far behind Boston in the East, then lost to the Red Sox in the ALDS.
This season, they feel Boone has them in a better position going into the playoffs.
“He’s been awesome, especially with this young group of guys and him being a young manager,’’ Sabathia said. “Being able to relate to these guys, with no panic, no matter what’s happening.”
There has been plenty to deal with — mostly on the injury front, but with a win over the White Sox in Chicago on June 15, the Yankees took over the lead in the division and never looked back.
“It starts with our manager and trickles down,’’ Brett Gardner said.
Both Aaron Judge and Luke Voit couldn’t help but to use Boone’s infamous phrase during the postgame celebration in the raucous Yankees clubhouse.
“All I can say is we’re a bunch of savages,’’ Voit said. “And [Boone] is a big reason why we are that way.’’
Judge added: “We’ve got a team full of savages.’’
Whether that tirade in July during a game against the Rays in the middle of a five-game winning streak really sparked the Yankees is a matter of debate, but the T-shirts the players have worn since shortly after that day say it did.
And the results have followed.
The next step will be catching Ralph Houk, who won 205 games in his first two years as a manager in The Bronx (109 in 1961 and 96 in 1962).
Of course, Houk also guided the Yankees to World Series titles in each of those seasons, while Boone will be going for his first this October.
“I’m just proud of the so many guys who have contributed on so many different levels and the organization for making so many good decisions to put us in a position to withstand the adversity we faced this year,’’ Boone said.