Even before he was a major league player, Aaron Boone wanted to be a big league broadcaster.
"As a little kid, going to bed and sleeping at night, listening to Harry Kalas and Richie Ashburn call Phillie games left a lasting impression on me," Boone said Tuesday.
Boone announced his retirement as a player following a 12-year major league career and will become a baseball analyst for ESPN.
Following open-heart surgery last March 23, Boone returned to the Houston Astros and went 0 for 13 in September. Teammate Geoff Blum took third base from David Wright after the season's final game and presented Boone with it in the visiting clubhouse, a sign players knew Boone's playing career was over.
"Although I'm taking my uniform off, in a lot of ways it doesn't feel like I'm retiring because I'm certainly not leaving the game," Boone said.
A third generation big leaguer, he's the grandson of Ray Boone, the son of Bob Boone and a brother of Bret Boone.
An All-Star in 2003 when he split the season between Cincinnati and the New York Yankees, Aaron Boone had a .263 career average with 126 homers and 555 RBIs. His most famous hit was off Tim Wakefield in the 11th inning of Game 7 of the 2003 AL championship series, capping the Yankees' comeback from a 5-2 deficit against the Boston Red Sox.
Boone will appear on "Baseball Tonight" beginning in March. He worked for ESPN Radio during the last NL division series.
"Sometimes there's nothing worse than when you see an analyst that's being a homer or, you know, just unwilling to criticize something," Boone said. "Hopefully, one of my gifts will be that I'll be able to, you know, say something that's I guess considered critical without being a jerk."
He thinks he's well-prepared for his new job.
"I've always been breaking down games and analyzing and watching and paying attention, you know, calling games in my hotel room by myself," he said. "I've been asked a lot over the years would I want to manage or coach. I would never say never because who knows where you are down the road? But I never pictured myself going into that role. I always pictured myself doing this."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.