Joe Girardi managed his 1,000th game for the New York Yankees Friday night, joining an exclusive club. Other men to manage at least 1,000 games for the Yankees are Miller Huggins (1918-29), Joe McCarthy (1931-46), Casey Stengel (1949-60), Ralph Houk (1961-63, ’66-73) and Joe Torre (1996-2007).
“It kind of shocked me yesterday when I heard about it,” Girardi told Bryan Hoch before Friday’s home series opener against the Rays. “I’m fortunate and blessed, is probably the best way to put it for me. I’m able to do what I love to do in a place that I love to be, for a long time. That’s kind of what it says to me.”
In 1,000 games, Girardi has gone 579-421, good for a winning percentage of .579 since 2008. Girardi’s first season as manager was the last one played at the old stadium, but the team missed the playoffs. The next year marked the first season in the new stadium and the Yankees won the World Series.
“I don’t ever take anything for granted,” Girardi said. “I understand that I have a job to do, and I have responsibilities. I really try to focus day to day. I don’t try to get caught up in where I’m going to be next year, or five years, or 10 years. I’ve never done that. It’s just not my personality, so that’s worked well for me.”
Girardi, a former catcher, became the manager of the Yankees less than 10 years after his last season playing for the team. Incidentally, his first season playing for the Yankees was Derek Jeter’s rookie year. Jeter is the last player on the Yankees’ current roster to have played alongside Girardi.
This being Jeter’s last year, Girardi has managed the Yankees for each of the “Core Four” members’ final seasons. For the rest of the season, Girardi will be setting his sights on winning the World Series title, but will take some time to commemorate his achievement.
He plans to keep the lineup card from Friday night’s game.