While Joe Girardi had his fair share of critics as New York Yankees manager, he found a way to get the most out of every team he managed.
Girardi had his fair share of critics for the “binder” and how he wasn’t exactly friendly to the media. It was a tough task for him to replace a managerial icon in Joe Torre.
When we look back at Girardi over his ten years steering the ship in the Bronx, there is one word that came to my mind: Overachievement. Now, that isn’t a word normally used with the Yankees and their old ring-or-bust mindset from the late 90s and most of the 2000s. But Girardi’s tenure was defined by that.
Girardi was able to get his World Series ring as a manager in 2009. Despite that, there are still some who never gave him all the credit because of the spending spree the team had the previous offseason signing, C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira.
After that championship team, the Yankees made it to the postseason for three straight years. While they never made it back to the World Series, they reached the ALCS twice. In 2011, they lost to the Tigers in a close five-game series in the ALDS, but in all three years, you can say the Yankees lost to the better team.
Over the next four years, the Yankees only appeared in one postseason game (2015 AL Wild Card Game). While that would be seen as a failure in regards to the team’s illustrious history, keep this in mind; The Yankees did a stellar job staying in contention in years where they had the likes of Ben Francisco, Vernon Wells, Jayson Nix and Kevin Youkilis in their Opening Day lineup.
Despite missing the postseason, the Yankees did incredible work in staying competitive in the final years of Mariano Rivera (2013) and Derek Jeter (2014). At the very least, if a team misses the playoffs, they at least want to partake in competitive games through the month of September.
Now, fast forward to this season. The Yankees weren’t expected to accomplish much because of their young talent but they were able to get within one win of a coveted World Series spot. Yes, Girardi had his mishaps in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Indians (cringe) but, more often than not, he was pushing the right buttons to put his young team in a position to win.
Whoever the Yankees decide is the right person to take over Girardi’s spot, they’ll have an easier task at following than Girardi did upon his arrival. However, the days of overachieving are over as this young core of Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge and Luis Severino will have fans going back to the championship-or-bust mentality in no time.
Girardi wasn’t the greatest manager out there but he always found a way to get the most out of his talent and put his team in a position to win every single night.
It may not be a World Series but as a fan, that’s all you could’ve asked for from this Yankee legend.