Girardi reflects on 1,000 games as Yankees skipper

Yankees manager grateful to be doing what he loves in a place he loves
05/02/2014 5:13 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Joe Girardi is in his seventh season as the Yankees manager.(AP)
Friday night marks Joe Girardi's 1,000th game as Yankees manager, making him just the sixth skipper in franchise history to reach that plateau.

Once first pitch is thrown, Girardi will join some brand names in Huggins, McCarthy, Stengel, Houk, and Torre in the club; that group has a lot in common, as they've combined to lead the Yankees to 24 of their 27 World Series titles, but Girardi's not so sure he knows what to make of being part of their club.

"I don't know; it shocked me yesterday when I heard about (reaching the milestone)," Girardi said before Friday's game. "I'm fortunate and blessed, is probably the best way I can put it. I've been able to do what I love to do in a place that I love to be for a long time."

Girardi has done pretty well for himself, going 579-420 in his first 999 games, and win or lose Friday will have the best winning percentage of any of the seven active major-league managers with at least 1,000 games manager with their current team.

And yet, e's still not sure he's "settled in" as the Yankees' skipper.

"I don't know if you ever feel that, because of the nature of the beast," he said. "But I don't ever take anything for granted; I understand that I have a job to do and I have responsibilities, and I really try to focus day-to-day."

The position of Yankees manager has often been a chaotic - and frequently changed - one, although all 14 of Girardi's seasons in the organization (as a player, manager, coach, or even broadcaster) have come with either Joe Torre or himself at the helm.

Should he stay there, and not miss any (or at least very few) games during his tenure, Girardi would pass Ralph Houk on the Yankees' games managed list late in 2018 and would vault all the way to second behind Joe McCarthy by the end of 2019.

But, he said, he's not even worrying about game 1,001 until 1,000 is in the books.

"I try not to get caught up with where I'll be next year or in 5 or 10 years," he said. "I've never done that because it's just not my personality, and that's worked well for me."

As for 1,000 being special, Girardi joked that he only knew it was upon him because it was in the team's game notes on Thursday, but he will try to save a lineup card or some small memento.

"I wouldn't have if somebody hadn't put it in the notes, but now that it's in the notes, I should probably save a lineup card," he laughed. "There are certain milestones you save, so I have a few things saved (from past special days)."

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