The 2003 Yankee hero, Aaron Boone is making his return to the major leagues soon after undergoing open-heart surgery earlier this year. The Houston Astros activated Boone this Tuesday as one of their September call-ups.
"I'm just going to play and enjoy the last month. And hopefully do good," said Boone as his team took batting practice Monday at Wrigley Field. The remarkable journey of Aaron Boone's recovery most definitely will be applauded by fans all around the baseball world, especially those in New York.
Aaron Boone left his mark in New York, as he pinch-hit in game seven of the 2003 ALCS against the Red Sox. The stage was set and in the bottom of the 11th inning at Yankee Stadium Aaron Boone came to the plate not knowing the impact that his at-bat would leave in history. Red Sox Catcher Jason Varitek gives his pitcher, Tim Wakefield, the knuckle-ball sign, he delivers it. Too bad for Wakefield, it was just what Boone was expecting. Boone crushed the pitch into the left-field stands and also crushed the World Series hopes for the Red Sox and their fans.
That moment in 2003 will be kept inside the memories of millions of Yankee fans for the rest of their lives. Boone would break his ankle in the off-season playing basketball. The injury violated a clause in his contract and he was cut by the Yankees in February. He was replaced by the current Yankees third-baseman, two-time Most Valuable Player with the Yankees, Alex Rodriguez. Aaron Boone went on to play baseball for several different teams after his stint with the Yankees.
Aaron Boone's injury was dubbed as the best basketball injury in baseball by most Yankee fans. But fans knew that he belonged with the Yankees, so much that the front-office wanted to trade for him in the middle of the 2004 season to replace Enrique Wilson and Miguel Cairo. He decided to stay with the Indians because he had a signed a two-year deal.
The next few years he signed one-year contracts with the Marlins, Nationals, and currently the Houston Astros. In March 2009, Boone announced to the media that he was going to have open-heart surgery to change a bicuspid aortic valve. He announced that he has suffered from the bicuspid aortic valve since childhood, but recent tests have proved that this condition in his heart has been worsening.
Doctors told him that he could return to the majors a few months after the surgery, but he was seriously considering retiring from baseball. The idea of retirement was put aside and he announced later on that he was aiming toward returning to the majors on September 1, 2009. That is the day major league rosters expand. The day has come and the Houston Astros have activated Aaron Boone and expect him to make his 2009 debut sometime this week.
Astros GM Ed Wade commented on Boone's return saying, "What Aaron has accomplished is amazing. He was determined to make this happen, and it's an honor for us to have been part of his return to action. His work ethic and love of the game are inspiring."
Ed Wade is not the only person in baseball admiring Aaron Boone, several of his teammates have said they can not wait to have him come back. Yankee Universe is filled with fans waiting to see Aaron Boone take the field. His first at-bat is Wednesday at Wrigley Field, where there will definitely be fans waiting to give him a great ovation. Boone is in heaven now, and he has said before that his heaven is a baseball diamond.
Welcome Back Aaron Boone!