Joe Torre

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Joe Torre
Joe Torre Winter Meetings.jpg
Torre in 2015
Catcher / First baseman / Third baseman / Manager
Born: (1940-07-18) July 18, 1940 (age 81)
Brooklyn, New York
Batted: RightThrew: Right
MLB debut
September 25, 1960, for the Milwaukee Braves
Last MLB appearance
June 17, 1977, for the New York Mets
MLB statistics
Batting average .297
Hits 2,342
Home runs 252
Runs batted in 1,185
Managerial record2,326–1,997
Winning %.538
Teams
As player

As manager

Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svgEmpty Star.svgEmpty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svgEmpty Star.svgEmpty Star.svg
Induction 2014
Vote100% (Expansion Era Committee)

Joseph Paul Torre ( /ˈtɒri/ ; born July 18, 1940) is an American professional baseball executive, serving as a special assistant to the Commissioner of Baseball since 2020. [1] He previously served in the capacity of Major League Baseball's (MLB) chief baseball officer from 2011 to 2020. A former player, manager and television color commentator, Torre ranks fifth all-time in MLB history with 2,326 wins as a manager. With 2,342 hits during his playing career, Torre is the only major leaguer to achieve both 2,000 hits as a player and 2,000 wins as a manager. From 1996 to 2007, he was the manager of the New York Yankees and guided the team to four World Series championships.

Contents

Torre's lengthy and distinguished career in MLB began as a player in 1960 with the Milwaukee Braves, as a catcher, first baseman and third baseman. He also played for the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets until becoming a manager in 1977, when he briefly served as the Mets' player-manager. His managerial career covered 29 seasons, including tenures with the same three clubs for which he played, and the Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers, until 2010. From 1984 to 1989, he served as a television color commentator for the California Angels and NBC. After retiring as a manager, he accepted a role assisting the Commissioner as the executive vice president of baseball operations.

A nine-time All-Star, Torre won the 1971 National League (NL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award after leading the major leagues in batting average, hits, and runs batted in. [2] After qualifying for the playoffs just once while managing the Mets, Braves, and Cardinals, Torre's greatest success came as manager of the Yankees. His clubs compiled a .605 regular-season winning percentage and made the playoffs every year, winning four World Series titles, six American League (AL) pennants, and ten AL East division titles. In 1996 and 1998, he was the AL Manager of the Year. He also won two NL West division titles with the Dodgers for a total of 13 division titles. In 2014, Torre was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Early life

Joseph Torre was born July 18, 1940, in Brooklyn, New York. He is the youngest of five children, two girls and three boys of Italian immigrants Joe, Sr., a plainclothes officer in the New York City Police Department, and Margaret. [3] [4] Joe, Sr. abused Margaret until Torre was 13 years old when Torre's brother, Frank, convinced their father to move out. [5] They would later divorce. [6]

Torre is of Italian descent. He was raised in the Marine Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. His siblings include two older brothers, Frank and Rocco, and an older sister, Marguerite. [7] [8] Torre grew up a New York Giants fan. [9]

Torre played baseball at Saint Francis Prep [5] and in the All-American Amateur Baseball Association for the Brooklyn Cadets. Heavyset as a teenager, Torre was not considered a viable professional prospect until he converted to catcher on the advice of his brother, Frank. [10] Torre worked briefly at the American Stock Exchange after high school. [6]

Playing career

Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves (1960–1968)

Torre followed in his brother Frank Torre's footsteps when he was signed by the Milwaukee Braves as an amateur free agent in 1959. [4] In his first season in the minor leagues with the Class A Eau Claire Bears, he won the 1960 Northern League batting championship with a .344 batting average. [11] [12] Torre made his major league debut late in the season on September 25, 1960. [2] For the 1961 season he was assigned to the Triple A Louisville Colonels, where the Braves planned to groom him as the eventual successor to their All-Star catcher, Del Crandall. [13] However, those plans were changed when Crandall injured his throwing arm in May 1961, forcing the Braves to promote Torre to the major leagues with just over a year of minor league experience. [13] Torre rose to the occasion, hitting for a .278 batting average with 21 doubles and 10 home runs. [2] He finished the season ranked second to Billy Williams in the 1961 National League Rookie of the Year voting. [14]

Crandall resumed his role as the number one catcher in 1962 while Torre stayed on as the back-up catcher. [15] By the 1963 season, the Braves had begun to play Crandall at first base as Torre had taken over the starting catcher's role. [16] [17] He ended the season with a .293 batting average with 14 home runs and 71 runs batted in and, earned a spot as a reserve for the National League team in the 1963 All-Star Game. [2] [18] In December 1963, the Braves traded Crandall to the San Francisco Giants leaving Torre as the undisputed number one catcher. [19]

Torre had a breakout year in 1964 when he hit 12 home runs along with a .312 batting average by mid-season and was voted to be the starting catcher for the National League in the 1964 All-Star Game. [20] [21] He ended the season with a .321 batting average, fourth highest in the league, along with 20 home runs and 109 runs batted in and led National League catchers with a .995 fielding percentage. [2] [22] [23] Despite the fact that the Braves finished the season in fifth place, Torre ranked fifth in voting for the 1964 National League Most Valuable Player Award. [24]

In 1965, Torre won his first of two NL Player of the Month awards when he took the honour for May, batting .382, with 10 HR, and 24 RBI. Torre was once again voted to be the starting catcher for the National League in the 1965 All-Star Game and hit a two-run home run off of Milt Pappas to help the National League to a 6–5 victory. [25] He ended the season with 27 home runs and 80 runs batted in although his batting average dipped to .291. [2] Torre won his first and only Gold Glove Award in 1965 although, baseball historian Bill James said the decision was influenced by his offensive statistics and that, either John Roseboro or Tom Haller were more deserved of the award. [26] [27] In an article for the St. Petersburg Independent that year, Beat Generation author Jack Kerouac called Torre "the best catcher since Roy Campanella." [28]

For the 1966 season the Braves relocated to Atlanta and the new Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium which, due to its less dense atmosphere in the high elevation in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, made it favorable to home run hitters, resulting in the nickname The Launching Pad. [29] On April 12, 1966, Torre hit the first major league home run in the history of the Atlanta stadium. [30] Torre produced a career-high 36 home runs with 101 runs batted in, a .315 batting average, a .382 on-base percentage and, led National League catchers with a 48.6% caught stealing percentage. [2] He was voted as the starting catcher for the National League All-Star team for the third successive year. [31] His offensive production tapered off in 1967 with a .277 batting average with 68 runs batted in although he still hit 20 home runs and won his fourth consecutive start in the 1967 All-Star Game. [2] [32] He posted another sub-par season in 1968 with a .271 batting average, 10 home runs and 55 runs batted in however, he led National League catchers with a .996 fielding percentage. [2] [33]

Before the 1969 season, Torre became embroiled in a feud with Braves General Manager Paul Richards over his salary. [34] Eventually, the Braves traded Torre to the St. Louis Cardinals for the 1967 Most Valuable Player Award winner, Orlando Cepeda. [35]

St. Louis Cardinals (1969–1974)

The Cardinals had Tim McCarver as their starting catcher so Torre replaced the departed Cepeda as their first baseman for the 1969 season. [36] His offensive statistics rebounded and he ended the season with a .289 batting average with 18 home runs and 101 runs batted in. [2] In 1970, the Cardinals traded away McCarver along with Byron Browne, Curt Flood and Joe Hoerner to the Philadelphia Phillies for Dick Allen, Jerry Johnson and Cookie Rojas. [37] Allen took over as the Cardinals' first baseman while Torre split his playing time between playing third base and sharing catching duties with young prospect Ted Simmons. [38] His offensive statistics continued to improve; he hit 21 home runs with 100 runs batted in and finished second to Rico Carty in the National League batting championship with a .325 batting average. [2] [39]

The Cardinals made Simmons their full-time catcher in 1971, leaving Torre to concentrate on playing third base. Freed from the mentally challenging, strength-sapping job of catching, Torre had a career-season offensively. [40] [41] He was hitting for a .359 batting average at mid-season and was voted to be the starting third baseman for the National League in the 1971 All-Star Game. [42] [43] He was named NL Player of the Month for the second and final time in August (.373, 5 HR, 27 RBI). Torre won the National League Batting Championship, hitting .363 and led the league with 137 runs batted in, en route to winning the 1971 National League Most Valuable Player award. [44] [45] Adapting to a new defensive position proved to be a challenge as Torre led the league's third basemen with 21 errors. [46] In December, he was awarded the 1971 Hutch Award, given annually to the player who best exemplifies the fighting spirit and competitive desire of Fred Hutchinson. [47]

In 1972, Torre won his second consecutive starting role as third baseman for the National League in the All-Star Game. However, his offensive numbers for the season dipped to a .289 batting average with 11 home runs and 81 runs batted in. [2] After two more sub-par seasons, the Cardinals traded the 34-year-old Torre to the New York Mets for Ray Sadecki with Tommy Moore. [48]

New York Mets (1975–1977)

With the Mets in 1975, Torre became the third player in major league history, and first in the National League, to hit into four double plays in one game. [49] Felix Millán singled in all four of his at-bats hitting ahead of Torre, and at a post-game press conference, Torre joked about his own performance by saying "I'd like to thank Félix Millán for making this possible." When Torre's batting average fell to .247 in 1975, it appeared his best years might be behind him. However, his average rebounded 59 points in 1976, and he finished the year with a .306 batting average. [50] In May 1977, the Mets fired manager Joe Frazier and named Torre as their player-manager. [51] Because he believed he could not do the job properly while still playing, he decided to retire at age 37. He did serve 18 days as a player-manager (only having 2 at-bats), becoming the second of three players in the 1970s to take on both roles (Frank Robinson, in the two previous seasons with the Cleveland Indians, and Don Kessinger, in 1979 with the Chicago White Sox, were the others). [52] His final at bat came on June 17, 1977 at Shea Stadium against the Houston Astros, where he put himself in as a pinch hitter. But he flied out to right field, thereby ending his playing career.

Post-playing career

New York Mets manager (1977–1981)

Torre managed the Mets from 1977 to 1981 season, but failed to improve the team's record. He went 49–68 in his first season with the Mets, while the team finished 64–98 overall and in last place in the NL East. The next two seasons weren't any better, going 66-96 and 63-99 respectively. Torre's team improved in 1980 to fifth place, as they finished 67–95. The strike-shortened season of 1981 was Torre's last with the team, and he went 17–34 in the first half of the season and 24–28 in the second half, finishing fifth and fourth. After five years without a winning season, Torre was fired at the end of the strike-shortened 1981 season. [53]

Atlanta Braves manager (1982–1984)

Torre in 1982 JoeTorre1982.jpg
Torre in 1982

In 1982, Torre replaced Bobby Cox as the manager of the Atlanta Braves, and immediately guided them to a Major League-record 13 straight wins to open the season. Atlanta subsequently went on to finish 89–73 and capture the National League West division title, its first playoff appearance since the 1969 National League Championship Series (NLCS). In Game 1 of the 1982 NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Braves jumped to a 1–0 lead before the game was rain-delayed after four innings and eventually canceled just three outs short of an official game. St. Louis won the rematch and went on to sweep the series. Torre was named the Associated Press' (AP) Manager of the Year, becoming the first person to win both that and an MVP award. [54]

The Braves slipped to second place in 1983, but with their 88–74 record, won just one fewer game than the previous season, and marked the first consecutive winning seasons for the organization since moving from Milwaukee in 1966. In 1984, Atlanta slipped to 80–82 the following season but, again finished runner-up in the division (tied with Houston Astros). Torre was fired after the 1984 season.

Broadcast booth (1985–1990)

From 1985 to 1990, Torre worked as a television color commentator for the California Angels. [55] Torre also worked as a color commentator for NBC's Game of the Week [56] telecasts alongside Jay Randolph. While working as a guest analyst for ESPN during the 1989 World Series, Torre was on hand for the Loma Prieta earthquake (October 17, 1989).

St. Louis Cardinals manager (1990–1995)

Torre in 1995. Joetorre1995.jpg
Torre in 1995.

In 1990, Torre replaced the popular Whitey Herzog as Cardinals manager and posted a 351–354 record. Though the Cardinals were unable to reach the playoffs during Torre's tenure, they had winning records in each of the three full seasons he spent with the club (excluding the strike-shortened 1994). Despite a last-place prediction from many commentators, the Cardinals finished in second place and won 84 games in 1991, Torre's first full season at the helm. His best record was 87–75 in 1993. Torre was fired in June 1995 for his poor record that year as part of a rebuilding project while Anheuser-Busch prepared to sell the team.

New York Yankees manager (1996–2007)

Torre served as the Yankees manager under owner George Steinbrenner. Torre lasted 12 full seasons, managing 1,942 regular-season games, with a won-loss record of 1,173–767. [57] He took the team to the postseason every one of his twelve seasons with the club, winning six American League pennants and four World Series. By far the longest tenure for a Yankees manager in the Steinbrenner era, Torre's was the second-longest tenure in club history: only Joe McCarthy lasted longer. [58] Torre is the only Yankees manager who was born in New York City.

1996–2005

Joe Torre (left) with George W. Bush and Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly on the field at Yankee Stadium before Game 3 of the 2001 World Series. P9154-30 Joe Torre, George W. Bush and Bob Brenly.jpg
Joe Torre (left) with George W. Bush and Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly on the field at Yankee Stadium before Game 3 of the 2001 World Series.
Torre after visiting the mound during a 2005 game Joe Torre.JPG
Torre after visiting the mound during a 2005 game

Before his first game with the Yankees, Torre got off to a rough start. The New York City press (and fans) thought his hiring was a colossal mistake and greeted him with tabloid headlines such as "Clueless Joe." [59] Including his three previous jobs, he had been a combined 109 games below .500, [54] and had never won a playoff game in 14 seasons. [60]

However, it was with the Yankees that he enjoyed the greatest success of his managerial career, leading them to the playoffs in each of his 12 seasons (1996–2007) with the club. He would eventually become a fan favorite. In 1996, he was named Manager of the Year. Torre, building on the Yankees' Wild Card berth in 1995, made his first-ever trip to the "Fall Classic", leading the Yankees to their first World Series since 1981. After the Yankees defeated the Atlanta Braves, Steinbrenner tore up Torre's contract and gave him a new, more lucrative and longer contract as a reward.

After losing to the Cleveland Indians in the AL playoffs in 1997, the team won three straight World Series titles from 1998 to 2000, and additional American League pennants in 2001 and 2003.

The 1998 season was Torre's most successful. Despite a slow start that included losing four of the first five games of the season, the Yankees set a then-American League record of 114 regular-season wins, including David Wells' perfect game against the Minnesota Twins on May 17. [61] It was in an August 11 victory over the Twins that Torre evened his career record win–loss record, making it 1168–1168. One other manager in Yankees' history, Casey Stengel, had joined the team with a career record further below .500 than Torre, at 166 games, and eventually reached .500 as Yankees manager. [54]

During the 1998 playoffs, the Yankees easily bested the Texas Rangers, fought off the Cleveland Indians for the AL pennant, and swept the San Diego Padres in the World Series. His club set a major-league record of 125 total wins a season, including regular and postseason, breaking the 1906 Chicago Cubs' record of 118. [54] Torre won Manager of the Year honors, and the 1998 team is now widely regarded as "one of the best squads of all time," [62] along with the Yankee teams of 1927, 1939 and 1961, the 19721974 Oakland Athletics, and the 1975–1976 Cincinnati Reds. When ESPN launched its Who's#1? series on June 15, 2004, the 1998 Yankees topped the network's list of best teams over the years 1979 to 2003.

Presiding over his clubs' second perfect game in 1999, on this occasion, behind starter David Cone, the Yankees defeated the Montreal Expos 6–0. [63] The event occurred on July 18, also Torre's 59th birthday. He became the first to manage his teams to two perfect game wins, while becoming just the fourth in MLB history to manage his club in two perfect games, joining Stengel (1–1), Walter Alston (1–1), and Tommy Lasorda (0–2). [54] The Yankees also won their second consecutive World Series.

With a win over Minnesota on May 12, 2002, Torre became the 17th manager in Major League history to reach the milestone of 1,500 victories. [54]

In 2004, Torre suffered his greatest setback, marking the end of the Yankees' dominance. After building a 3–0 lead in the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox, his team would go on to suffer one of the worst collapses in baseball history and lose the next four games and the ALCS. The Red Sox would go on to win the 2004 World Series, their first title since 1918, ending the "Curse of the Bambino", which was supposedly inflicted on the team when Babe Ruth was sold to the Yankees in 1919. [64]

Off to an 8−11 start in 2005, the Yankees played their last five months at 84−48. They won 14 of their last 18 on their way to employing a franchise record 51 players to overtake Boston and capture their eighth consecutive AL East title. Their season ended in an 5-game ALDS loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. [65]

2006–2007

Despite pitching issues and injuries, the Yankees won another AL East title in 2006. The Yankees would go on to lose the ALDS to the Detroit Tigers in 4 games that season.

In 2007, Torre achieved his 2,000th win to become the first major league employee to win 2000 games as manager and collect 2,000 hits. He later notched his 2,010th managerial win, overtaking Leo Durocher for ninth place on the MLB all-time managerial wins list. Next, he passed Stengel on the Yankees' all-time managerial wins list in 2007 and recorded his 1,150th victory with the Yankees. Torre led the Yankees to their 13th consecutive postseason appearance.

Torre with Don Mattingly in 2007 Torre and coaches.jpg
Torre with Don Mattingly in 2007

After two Yankees losses to the Cleveland Indians in the Division Series, Steinbrenner said in an interview that Torre's contract would not be renewed if the Yankees did not defeat the Indians. The Yankees saved their season, and potentially Torre's job, for one day, as they won Game 3 at Yankee Stadium. [66] Following the Yankees' elimination the following night, earning them another first-round exit, Torre's fate remained uncertain. That night, as he went out to make what would be his last pitching change with the team, the fans in Yankee Stadium gave him a standing ovation and chanted his name.

After the season, the Yankees met with Torre and offered him a one-year contract with a $5 million base pay and $1 million bonuses, to be paid for each of three benchmarks the team would reach: winning the American League Division Series; winning the American League Championship Series; and winning the World Series. Further, had the Yankees reached the World Series, that would have automatically triggered an option for a new contract the following year. In spite of a pay cut from an average of $6.4 million over the previous three seasons, the new terms would have kept him as the highest-paid manager in the game. [67]

Yankee Global Enterprises chairman Hal Steinbrenner "explained the rationale behind the offer, which was nonnegotiable." Yankees president Randy Levine commented, "We thought we needed to go with a performance-based model. It's important to motivate people based on performance." George Steinbrenner, due to advancing age and deteriorating health, had noticeably less influence in the day-to-day operation of the club. Of the ultimatum he issued during the playoffs, his son Hal denied that his comments influenced the terms of the contract they presented to Torre. [67]

The New York media portrayed the offer as an insult. Torre turned it down, ending his era with the Yankees. [68] On October 19, 2007, he held a news conference to explain his decision. After first thanking George Steinbrenner, he remarked, "I just felt the contract offer and the terms of the contract were probably the thing I had the toughest time with."

Of the aftermath, Wallace Matthews of Newsday commented, "They are very slick, these thugs running the Yankees. ... They have been trying to figure out a way to whack Torre while making it appear as if Torre whacked himself. What they came up with was brilliant in its innovation and chilling in its cynicism, but ultimately transparent." [69] Opined Mike Lupica, "It was just the most famous disagreement we are ever likely to see in baseball, the most famous manager telling the people who run the most famous team to take their job and shove it. A manager finally fired the Yankees." [70] Added Joel Sherman, "Torre erred in turning down the Yankees' proposal to stay in the position that has made him rich and famous beyond what he could have dreamed a dozen years ago." He also walks "away from that juice as much as the ownership." [67]

On February 3, 2009, Torre released a book about his experiences with the Yankees, called The Yankee Years , co-authored by Tom Verducci.

Torre returned to Yankee Stadium for the first time since vacating the Yankees managerial job on September 20, 2010, to pay respect to George Steinbrenner on the night of the previous owner's monument being unveiled in Monument Park.

Los Angeles Dodgers manager (2008–2010)

Torre as the Dodgers' manager, April 6, 2008 Joe Torre 2008.jpg
Torre as the Dodgers' manager, April 6, 2008

On November 1, 2007, the Los Angeles Dodgers announced that Torre would be their manager beginning with the 2008 season, filling the void left when Grady Little resigned the post two days before. This marked the return of Torre to the National League, the only league he had played or managed in prior to becoming the Yankees skipper. According to ESPN, his contract was valued at $13 million over 3 years. [71] Torre brought two members of his 2007 Yankees coaching staff with him. Don Mattingly, who had served as Torre's bench coach, was tabbed as the hitting coach, and third base coach Larry Bowa was brought in to fill the same position with the Dodgers. In January 2008, Mattingly was moved to the role of special assignment coach for the 2008 season due to family concerns. He was replaced as hitting coach by Mike Easler. [72]

In addition, Torre brought in Bob Schaefer to be bench coach, and retained first base coach Mariano Duncan and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt from Little's staff. Ken Howell was promoted from Triple-A pitching coach to bullpen coach, completing his staff. [73] Torre as a young boy lived in Brooklyn when the Dodgers played there, but admitted to being a New York Giants fan then, adding another keynote in the longstanding rivalry between the two clubs.

On March 31, 2008, Joe Torre made his managerial debut with the Dodgers in a 5–0 victory. Coincidentally, he would be managing several former Red Sox players, such as Manny Ramirez, Derek Lowe, and Nomar Garciaparra. On September 25, 2008, the Dodgers clinched the National League West title, giving Torre his 13th consecutive postseason appearance. October 4, 2008 saw Torre managing the Dodgers to a 3–0 victory over the Chicago Cubs in the National League Division Series, earning the Dodgers their first post-season series victory since their championship season of 1988. [74] Torre's Dodgers were beaten in the NLCS four games to one by the Phillies (who went on to win the World Series) with a 5–1 loss on October 15.

In 2009, Torre served as a coach on manager Charlie Manuel's staff in the All-Star Game. [54] The Dodgers achieved the National League's best record (95–67), clinching the top seed. They faced Torre's old club, the St. Louis Cardinals, in the National League Division Series, sweeping them in three games. However, they went on to lose to the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLCS in five games, ending their second consecutive season with a loss to the Phillies. (The Phillies, however, lost to his former team, the Yankees, in the 2009 World Series.)

During the 2010 season, Torre and his Dodgers played games against both the Yankees and the Red Sox. The Dodgers managed to only go 1–5 against the two teams. It was the first time ever he had faced the Yankees and the first time he had faced the Sox since leaving the Yankees. [75]

On September 17, 2010, Torre announced he would step down as Dodgers manager after the 2010 season, with Don Mattingly being Torre's replacement for the 2011 campaign. [76]

On October 3, 2010, the Dodgers defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 3–1 at Dodger Stadium for Torre's 2,326th career win. The victory was his last one with the Dodgers, since he stepped down as the team's manager at the conclusion of the game. [77]

Commissioner's office (2011–present)

With a desire to stay highly active post-field managing in spite of his advancing age, [78] Torre accepted a position assisting Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig as the new Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations on February 26, 2011. [79] His stated duties according to the MLB.com biography include serving as the primary liaison for all baseball and on-field activities between the office of the commissioner and the general managers and field managers of all 30 Major League clubs. Other duties include overseeing areas of major league operations, on-field operations and discipline and umpiring. [80] In December 2014, as part of an executive reorganization, MLB announced Torre's title was modified to Chief Baseball Officer, although his duties remained the same. [81]

Torre drew criticism when, during the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, MLB denied the New York Mets the right to wear tribute caps to first responders, like they did in the month following the attacks. [82] [83]

Torre briefly resigned from his position with Major League Baseball in January 2012 amid speculation that he was interested in joining one of the groups seeking to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers. [84] The following March, he returned to his position with MLB after his group failed to buy the Dodgers. [85]

Torre was the manager of the USA team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. [86] On September 22, 2013, he attended a Yankees pregame tribute to Mariano Rivera at Yankee Stadium. [87]

In August 2015, Torre opened dialogue around Major League Baseball amid concerns about umpiring, the strike zone, and instant replay, by meeting with players and staff of all 30 major league teams. Red Sox manager John Farrell noted an increasing trend of pitches below the strike zone being called strikes. [88] Commented Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, "it's good leadership that he's willing to initiate conversation, ... giving guys a chance [to express any issues they might have], it's impressive. He wasn't ... making excuses for anybody. He said, 'Help me understand how we can help improve.'" [89]

In December 2015, Torre led an expedition to Cuba composed of MLB officials and players. It was the first of its kind since 1999, and one anticipated as an important step to help normalize relations with the United States that had begun to ease earlier in the year. [90] [91]

In February 2020, Torre was replaced as head of on-field operations by former pitcher Chris Young and was reassigned as special assistant to the Commissioner. [92] [1] Despite retaining a post in the commissioners result, Torre can no longer determine fines and suspensions for on-field incidents. [93]

Achievements, highlights, honors and awards

Torre at Dodger Stadium, May 2010 Joe Torre 2010.jpg
Torre at Dodger Stadium, May 2010

As a manager or player in the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, Torre appeared 15 total times, with his teams going 13–1–1. During his playing career, he was always on the National League squad, going 8–1. Each time he was manager, it was for the American League, with those teams going 5–0–1. [54]

In 2011, Torre made his first appearance at the New York Yankees' Old Timer's Day. [94] He also appeared in 2012, 2014, and 2015.

The Yankees retired Torre's uniform number 6 on "Joe Torre Day", August 23, 2014, and honored him with a plaque in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium. [95]

On April 29, 2016, the Cardinals announced that Torre was selected as part of the 2016 class to be inducted into the franchise Hall of Fame, with the enshrinement scheduled for the following August 27. [96]

Playing career

In an 18-year major league career, Torre played in 2,209 games, accumulating 2,342 hits in 7,874 at bats for a .297 career batting average along with 252 home runs, 1,185 runs batted in and an on-base percentage of .365. [2] He retired with a .990 fielding percentage in 903 games as a catcher, a .993 fielding percentage in 787 games as a first baseman and a .951 fielding percentage in 515 games as a third baseman. [2]

During his individual seasons, Torre batted over .300 five times, had over 100 runs batted in five seasons and hit over 20 home runs six times. A nine-time All-Star, he was the recipient one each of a Most Valuable Player Award, batting title, and RBI crown. He finished in the National League top ten four times each in batting average, on-base percentage, on-base plus slugging percentage, adjusted OPS+, hits, total bases, and RBI, and slugging percentage. Also a Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner at catcher, Torre led National League catchers twice in fielding percentage and was in the top five caught stealing percentage. In ten different seasons combined at catcher, first base and third base, he finished in the top five in fielding percentage. [2] Baseball historian Bill James ranked Torre 11th all-time among major league catchers. [26]

Managerial career

Torre established a Major League record by guiding his clubs to 14 consecutive World Series wins from Game Three of the 1996 World Series through Game Two of the 2000 championship. He became the first manager to guide his club to 12 consecutive postseason appearances. [54]

TeamYearRegular seasonPostseason
GamesWonLostWin %FinishWonLostWin %Result
NYM 1977 1174968.4196th in NL East
NYM 1978 1626696.4076th in NL East
NYM 1979 1626399.3896th in NL East
NYM 1980 1626795.4145th in NL East
NYM 1981 511734.3335th in NL East
522428.4624th in NL East
NYM total706286420.405
ATL 1982 1628973.5491st in NL West03.000Lost NLCS (STL)
ATL 1983 1628874.5432nd in NL West
ATL 1984 1628082.4943rd in NL West
ATL total486257229.52903.000
STL 1990 582434.4146th in NL East
STL 1991 1628478.5192nd in NL East
STL 1992 1628379.5123rd in NL East
STL 1993 1628775.5373rd in NL East
STL 1994 1145361.4654th in NL Central
STL 1995 472027.426Fired
STL total705351354.498
NYY 1996 1629270.5681st in AL East114.733Won World Series (ATL)
NYY 1997 1629666.5932nd in AL East23.400Lost ALDS (CLE)
NYY 1998 16211448.7041st in AL East112.846Won World Series (SD)
NYY 1999 1629864.6051st in AL East111.917Won World Series (ATL)
NYY 2000 1618774.5401st in AL East115.688Won World Series (NYM)
NYY 2001 1609565.5941st in AL East107.588Lost World Series (ARI)
NYY 2002 16110358.6401st in AL East13.250Lost ALDS (ANA)
NYY 2003 16210161.6231st in AL East98.529Lost World Series (FLA)
NYY 2004 16210161.6231st in AL East65.545Lost ALCS (BOS)
NYY 2005 1629567.5861st in AL East23.400Lost ALDS (LAA)
NYY 2006 1629765.5991st in AL East13.250Lost ALDS (DET)
NYY 2007 1629468.5802nd in AL East13.250Lost ALDS (CLE)
NYY total19401173767.6057647.618
LAD 2008 1628478.5191st in NL West44.500Lost NLCS (PHI)
LAD 2009 1629567.5861st in NL West44.500Lost NLCS (PHI)
LAD 2010 1628082.4944th in NL West
LAD total486259227.53388.500
Total [57] 432323261997.5388458.592

Awards and honors

General reference: [97]

Championships earned or shared
TitleTimesDatesRef
American League champion 6 1996, 19982001, 2003 [98] [99] [100]
MLB division champion13 1982, 1996, 19982006, 2008, 2009 [101]
National League batting champion 1 1971
World Series champion 4 1996, 19982000
Honors received
Act of honor bestowedDateRef
National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee 2014 [102]
New York Yankees #6 retiredAugust 23, 2014 [103]
St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame inducteeAugust 27, 2016 [96]
Awards

Accomplishments

Film and television appearances

He appeared as himself in the broadcast booth in the 1990 film Taking Care of Business , which showed a fictional World Series between the Angels and the Chicago Cubs.

He appeared as himself in a 1996 episode of Cosby.

In the 1997 TV movie Joe Torre: Curveballs Along the Way , Torre was played by Paul Sorvino.

Torre also was featured as the "Voice of the Yankees' Manager" in the 2006 animated feature Everyone's Hero . [112] Torre's character manages a team that includes a fictional Babe Ruth.

Torre appeared with Willie Randolph in a set of Subway commercials, highlighting the pun of Subway and the Subway Series which Torre, then as Yankees manager, took part with Randolph, then as Mets manager.

During the 2008 season, Torre appeared in TV ads for State Farm Insurance, poking fun at both himself and Hollywood stereotypes. [113] [114]

On June 15, 2009, Torre was a guest on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien [115] and has made appearances on Sesame Street , Castle [116] and Gary Unmarried . Torre also appeared as himself in the 2002 Mafia comedy Analyze That starring Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal. [117]

On February 8, 2010, Joe Torre was a walk-in on the Castle episode "Suicide Squeeze" (season 2, episode 15)

Thoroughbred racing horse owner

A thoroughbred horse racing enthusiast, Torre is a part owner of several horses. [118] Game On Dude is a retired thoroughbred who is one of the top older handicap horses in the United States. [119] He also was a part-owner of Sis City, winner of the 2005 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland Race Course. She was the dominant three-year-old filly that year until finishing fourth in the May 6 Kentucky Oaks. However, a few weeks later on June 26, Wild Desert, in which Torre is also a partner, won the $1.0 million Queen's Plate, the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown. Wild Desert is also partially owned by Keith Jones, an NHL player. A horse named Torre and Zim, was named after Torre and his former bench coach Don Zimmer, as both love horse racing. [120] Homeboykris, who had upset the field by a half-length and won the opening card of the Preakness Stakes on May 21, 2016, collapsed and died on his way back to the stall immediately after the race. [121]

Books

In 1997, Torre's autobiography, Chasing the Dream, was released. Later, he authored an advice book, titled Joe Torre's Ground Rules for Winners. [122] His third book, The Yankee Years , was released in February 2009. The book, co-authored by Sports Illustrated writer Tom Verducci, details Torre's tenure as manager of the New York Yankees. [123]

Joe Torre Foundation

In 2002, Torre and his wife Ali established the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation. In October 2007 the Foundation partnered with the Union City, New Jersey Board of Education and the North Hudson Community Action Corporation (NHCAC) to establish the Foundation's Margaret Place initiative at Union City, New Jersey's José Martí Middle School, with a $325,000 donation from Verizon. It continues to receive yearly funding from that company of up to $65,000. The Foundation's mission is to educate and prevent domestic violence. Margaret's Place is named after Torre's mother, who was a victim of verbal and physical abuse at the hands of Torre's New York City Police officer father when Torre was a child. Torre describes his father as a "bully", and while Torre himself was not a target of his father's violence, he has related that he never felt safe at home, and grew up in fear for his mother, saying, "I always felt responsible for it. I never thought I belonged anywhere. I never felt safe except on the ball field." Margaret's Place is a comprehensive program that provides students with a safe room in school where they can meet with a professional counselor trained in domestic violence intervention and prevention in order to address the student's home situation and educate them to understand domestic violence's impact on the community. The children are also given the opportunity to read, play games or talk about their experience with others. The program, which is administered by health care professionals from North Hudson Community Action Corp, also includes an anti-violence campaign within the school, and training for teachers and counselors. It has grown to 11 sites in the region, though Union City's is the only such program in New Jersey. [7] [124] [125]

Torre is also a supporter of other anti-domestic violence programs. In September 2008, he recorded a public service announcement [126] and personal voice message in support of the RESPECT! Campaign against domestic violence.

Personal life

He has one son, Michael, by his first wife, Jackie, whom he married in 1963. He has two daughters, Lauren and Cristina, by his second wife, Dani, whom he married in 1968. Both of these marriages ended in divorce. On August 23, 1987, he married Alice (Ali) Wolterman, his third wife. They have a daughter, Andrea.

His older brother Frank Torre was also a Major League Baseball player. Frank died in 2014. His eldest brother, Rocco, was a New York Police Department officer who died in 1996. His older sister, Marguerite is a Roman Catholic nun and teacher, and through 2007 was the principal of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary School in Ozone Park Queens. He is also a mentor to and still remains very close friends with former New York Mets and New York Yankees All-Star Lee Mazzilli.[ citation needed ]

Torre was treated for prostate cancer [127] in 1999.

On December 14, 2005, Torre carried the Olympic Flame in Florence, Italy, as part of the torch relay of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, running it 405 meters, and ending up at the Ponte Vecchio.

As of April 2020, Torre and his wife live in Harrison, New York. Until February 2020, they also had a house in Mahopac. [128]

See also

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Further reading

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Bob Gibson
Ferguson Jenkins
Major League Player of the Month
May 1965
August 1971
Succeeded by
Vern Law & Willie Stargell
Don Sutton
Preceded by
César Tovar
Hitting for the cycle
June 27, 1973
Succeeded by
Richie Zisk