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Joe Torre

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Joseph Paul Torre

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 2014

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[edit] Biographical Information

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Joe Torre has had a celebrated life in baseball over the past 45 years, both as a player and as a manager. He was a player for 18 years, starting in 1960, and then was a manager for most of 30 years, from 1977 to 2010. He then became Major League Baseball's vice-president for on-field operations.

He began his career at Eau Claire of the Northern League, where he led the circuit in hitting. This earned him a call up to Milwaukee at the end of the 1960 season.

He was many years younger than his brother Frank Torre, who at that time was in his fifth season with the Braves. Torre's father, Joe Sr., was a scout for the Milwaukee Braves (1955-1961) and Baltimore Orioles (1962-1971).

Joe started 1961 with Louisville of the American Association but by season's end he was in Milwaukee for good. Torre played catcher and first base for Milwaukee and Atlanta until he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Orlando Cepeda in 1969.

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Torre played six seasons in St. Louis where he was named to four All-Star teams, in addition to his five All-Star appearances as a Brave. He also led the National League in hitting and RBIs in 1971 en route to the MVP award. Joe once had a hitting streak of 22 games in April - this was the record for the month until Andre Ethier broke it in 2011; Ethier had once been managed by Torre.

An aging Torre was dealt to the New York Mets after the 1974 season. He never regained his All-Star form, but the Mets gained an able third baseman and, eventually, a manager. In 1977, the Mets fired Joe Frazier on May 31st. Torre knew his playing career was over. After playing just two games as a player-manager, he retired to manage full time.

As a player, he had a .297 lifetime batting average along with 2,342 hits, which is a lot for a player who appeared at catcher more than at any other position. During most of the years he was eligible for the Hall of Fame voting by the BBWAA, he got 10-15%. In his last year of eligibility, he got 22%. That was, however, before most of his success as a manager. Had he not become a manager, he would likely still have been a strong contender for eventual induction in the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. However, the discussion was overtaken by his overwhelming success in the second half of his managerial career. Indeed, he is highlighted in the book Heroes Behind the Mask as one of the top catchers of all-time.

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Torre remained with the Mets through the 1981 season without ever winning more than 66 games in a season with a re-building team. He was hired by the Atlanta Braves for 1982, when he won a division title (the Braves' first since 1969. After the 1984 season, he was fired by Atlanta. He took a job as a broadcaster for the California Angels.

Rehired as a manager by the Cardinals in 1990, Torre was mediocre with the Cards, failing to make the playoffs in parts of six seasons. He was fired after 47 games in 1995.

Torre was a manager with a losing record when he was hired by the New York Yankees on November 2, 1995, but would be extremely successful in pinstripes. Torre won the World Series in 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000. He won six pennants and eight division titles with the Yankees. However, his tenure ended after the Yankees were beaten by the Cleveland Indians in the 2007 ALDS, the third straight first round postseason exit for the team. Yankee management offered him only a one-year contract for 2008, with a reduced salary and incentives based on how far the Yankees would go in the postseason. Torre declined, but did not stay unemployed for long, as he was offered the job as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, replacing Grady Little on November 1st. He was the Dodgers' manager for three seasons, guiding the team to the NLCS in both 2008 and 2009. He retired after the 2010 season, handing over the team's reins to long-time coach Don Mattingly. He then accepted the position of vice-president of Major League Baseball in charge of on-field operations, which makes him responsible for the supervision of umpires and for handing out discipline for on-field incidents.

Many considered Torre a lock for the Hall of Fame in the first Veterans Committee election following his retirement. Indeed, when his turn for consideration first came up, he was elected unanimously on December 9, 2013, alongside two other contemporary managers with equally impeccable credentials, Bobby Cox and Tony LaRussa, who were also elected unanimously at the first opportunity. The three will be inducted in 2014.

Bud Selig hired Torre as MLB's executive vice president for baseball operations in February 2011. The job description included overseeing major league operations, on-field discipline and umpiring among other things. On January 4, 2012 Torre stepped down from his position with MLB to join real estate magnate Rick Caruso's bid to purchase the bankrupt Los Angeles Dodgers from Frank McCourt. The group was considered to be among the favorites to emerge as the new owners at the end of the court-supervised process, but on February 23rd, it announced that it was bowing out of the process. The reason was that McCourt was refusing to include the parking lots surrounding Dodger Stadium in the terms of the deal, a decision that would have a significant negative impact on the future administration of the franchise. On March 23rd, Torre announced that he would return to his former position with Major League Baseball. Torre managed Team USA in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

Outside of baseball, Torre enjoys horse racing, and owns an interest in several race horses. A few of his horses have competed in the Kentucky Derby over the years. See this New York Times article for details [1].

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 1961 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
  • 9-time NL All-Star (1963-1967 & 1970-1973)
  • NL MVP (1971)
  • NL Gold Glove Winner (1965/C)
  • NL Batting Average Leader (1971)
  • NL Hits Leader (1971)
  • NL Total Bases Leader (1971)
  • NL RBI Leader (1971)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 6 (1964-1967, 1970 & 1971)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1966)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 5 (1964, 1966 & 1969-1971)
  • 200 Hits Seasons: 2 (1970 & 1971)
  • 2-time AL Manager of the Year Award (1996 & 1998)
  • Division Titles: 13 (1982, 1996, 1998-2006, 2008 & 2009)
  • Other Post-season Appearances: 2 (1997 & 2007 Wild Card)
  • AL Pennants: 6 (1996, 1998-2001 & 2003)
  • Managed four World Series Champions with the New York Yankees (1996, 1998, 1999 & 2000)
  • 100 Wins Seasons as Manager: 4 (1998 & 2002-2004)
  • Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 2014


NL MVP
1970 1971 1972
Johnny Bench Joe Torre Johnny Bench


Preceded by
Joe Frazier
New York Mets Manager
1977-1981
Succeeded by
George Bamberger
Preceded by
Bobby Cox
Atlanta Braves Manager
1982-1984
Succeeded by
Eddie Haas
Preceded by
Red Schoendienst
St. Louis Cardinals Manager
1990-1995
Succeeded by
Mike Jorgensen
Preceded by
Buck Showalter
New York Yankees Manager
1996-2007
Succeeded by
Joe Girardi
Preceded by
Grady Little
Los Angeles Dodgers Manager
2008-2010
Succeeded by
Don Mattingly

[edit] Year-By-Year Managerial Record

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1977 New York Mets National League 49-68 6th New York Mets replaced Joe Frazier (15-30) on May 31
1978 New York Mets National League 66-96 6th New York Mets
1979 New York Mets National League 63-99 6th New York Mets
1980 New York Mets National League 67-95 5th New York Mets
1981 New York Mets National League 41-62 5th New York Mets
1982 Atlanta Braves National League 89-73 1st Atlanta Braves Lost NLCS
1983 Atlanta Braves National League 88-74 2nd Atlanta Braves
1984 Atlanta Braves National League 80-82 2nd (t) Atlanta Braves
1990 St. Louis Cardinals National League 24-34 6th St. Louis Cardinals replaced Red Schoendienst (13-11) on August 1
1991 St. Louis Cardinals National League 84-78 2nd St. Louis Cardinals
1992 St. Louis Cardinals National League 83-79 3rd St. Louis Cardinals
1993 St. Louis Cardinals National League 87-75 3rd St. Louis Cardinals
1994 St. Louis Cardinals National League 53-61 3rd St. Louis Cardinals
1995 St. Louis Cardinals National League 20-27 -- St. Louis Cardinals replaced by Mike Jorgensen on June 16
1996 New York Yankees American League 92-70 1st New York Yankees Won World Series
1997 New York Yankees American League 96-66 2nd New York Yankees Lost ALDS
1998 New York Yankees American League 114-48 1st New York Yankees Won World Series
1999 New York Yankees American League 98-64 1st New York Yankees Won World Series includes interim by Don Zimmer (21-15) from April 6 to May 18
2000 New York Yankees American League 87-74 1st New York Yankees Won World Series
2001 New York Yankees American League 95-65 1st New York Yankees Lost World Series
2002 New York Yankees American League 103-58 1st New York Yankees Lost ALDS
2003 New York Yankees American League 101-61 1st New York Yankees Lost World Series
2004 New York Yankees American League 101-61 1st New York Yankees Lost ALCS
2005 New York Yankees American League 95-67 1st (t) New York Yankees Lost ALDS
2006 New York Yankees American League 97-65 1st New York Yankees Lost ALDS
2007 New York Yankees American League 94-68 2nd New York Yankees Lost ALDS
2008 Los Angeles Dodgers National League 84-78 1st Los Angeles Dodgers Lost NLCS
2009 Los Angeles Dodgers National League 95-67 1st Los Angeles Dodgers Lost NLCS
2010 Los Angeles Dodgers National League 80-82 4th Los Angeles Dodgers

[edit] Further Reading

  • Joe Torre (as told to George Vass): "The Game I'll Never Forget", Baseball Digest, July 1980, pp. 84-86. [2]
  • Joe Torre and Tom Verducci: The Yankee Years, Anchor Books, New York, NY, 2010.

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