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Torre in 1982
Joseph Paul Torre ( ) (born July 18, 1940) is the manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers and a former Major League Baseball player. He played for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, and the St. Louis Cardinals. Upon his retirement as a player, he later managed all three teams.

Torre also managed the New York Yankees from 1996-2007. The Yankees reached the post season each year and won ten American League East Division titles, six American League pennants, four World Series titles, and overall compiled a .605 winning percentage.

With 2,246 wins (through the end of the 2009 season), he presently ranks 5th in all-time Major League Baseball all-time managerial wins. His managerial success, particularly his achievements with the Yankees, have led many commentators to predict Torre to be a first-ballot Baseball Hall of Famermarker upon his eligibility.

Playing career

Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves (1960–68)

Torre followed in his brother Frank's footsteps and joined the Milwaukee Braves in 1960. He quickly became a reliable player on a veteran Braves team that included Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews. He was primarily a catcher, but also spent significant time as a first baseman. In 1965, Torre won a Gold Glove as a catcher. In an article for the St. Petersburg Independent that year, Beat Generation author Jack Kerouac called Torre "the best catcher since Roy Campanella." After moving to Atlanta, he hit .315 in 1966.

St. Louis Cardinals (1969–74)

Torre was traded to St. Louis in 1969 in exchange for Orlando Cepeda. He continued as a catcher for his first two seasons with the Cardinals, but became primarily a third baseman in 1971. That was the best year of his career; he hit .363 and drove in 137 runs en route to the NL MVP award.

New York Mets (1975–77)

Torre was traded to the Mets in 1975 for Ray Sadecki with Tommy Moore. He became a player-coach, then a player-manager before retiring.

Post-playing days

New York Mets (1977–81)

In May , Joe Frazier, who had been the team's manager since the beginning of , was fired, and Torre, who was playing third base for the Mets, was chosen as the replacement. Because he believed he could not do the job properly while still playing, he decided to retire at age 37, but did serve 18 days as a player-manager, 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 with the Chicago White Sox, were the others). Torre closed out his 18-year playing career with a .297 batting average, 252 home runs, 1,185 RBIs and 2,342 hits. Torre managed the Mets through the season, but was unable to post a winning season.

Atlanta Braves (1982–84)

In , Torre took over as 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 NL Western Division title, its first playoff appearance since the 1969 NLCS. In Game 1 of the NLCS against the 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.The Braves slipped to second place in , but their 88-74 record was just one game off the previous season, and marked the first consecutive winning seasons for the organization since moving from Milwaukee in 1966. Atlanta slipped to 80-82 the following season, ( ) but again finished runner-up in the division (tied with Houston Astros).

Broadcast booth

Torre spent the – seasons as a television analyst for the California Angels. While working as a guest analyst for ESPN during the 1989 World Series, Torre was on hand for the Loma Prieta earthquakemarker (October 17, ).

St. Louis Cardinals (1990–95)

In , 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 season). 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 for his poor record that year as part of a rebuilding project while Anheuser-Buschmarker prepared to sell the team.

New York Yankees (1996–2007)

Torre served as the Yankees manager under the controversial owner George Steinbrenner, who was famous for frequently firing his team's managers. Torre lasted 12 full seasons, managing 1,942 regular season games (with a won-loss record of 1173–767). and took the team to the post-season playoffs every one of his twelve seasons with the club, winning six American League pennants and four World Series. This was by far the longest tenure for a Yankees skipper in the Steinbrenner era. Torre's was the second-longest managerial tenure in the club's history: only Joe McCarthy lasted longer.

1996–2005

Torre after visiting the mound during a 2005 game
Torre got off to a rough start with the Yankees. The New York Citymarker press (and fans) thought his hiring was a colossal mistake and greeted him with headlines such as "Clueless Joe."

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 , 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 , the team won three straight World Series titles from to 2000, and additional American League pennants in and .

The 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's perfect game on May 17. During the 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. Torre won Manager of the Year honors, and the team is now widely regarded as one of the greatest baseball teams, along with the Yankee teams of 1927, and , the 19721974 Oakland Athletics, and the 1975–1976 Cincinnati Reds. When ESPN launched its Who's #1? series on June 15, , the 1998 Yankees topped the network's list of best teams over the years 1979 to 2003.

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 while the Red Sox would go on to win the World Series.

2006–2007

Despite pitching issues and injuries the Yankees won another AL East title in 2006.

In 2007, Torre got his 2000th win and became the first major league manager to win 2000 games and have 2,000 hits. Torre later notched his 2,010th managerial win, overtaking Leo Durocher for 9th place on the MLB all-time managerial wins list.He also passed Casey Stengel on the Yankees all time managerial wins list in 2007 and recorded his 1,150th victory with the team Yankees. Torre led the Yankees to their 13th consecutive postseason appearance.

In the 2007 post-season after the Yankees lost two games to the Cleveland Indians in the Division Series, George 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. Following the Yankees' elimination the following night, earning them another first-round exit, Torre's fate remained uncertain. That night, as Torre went out to make what would be his last pitching change with the team, the fans in Yankee Stadium gave Torre a standing ovation and chanted his name.

After the season the Yankees offered Torre a one-year contract with a $5,000,000 base pay and $1,000,000 bonuses, to be paid for each of three benchmarks the team reached: winning the American League Divisional Series; winning the American League Championship Series; and winning the World Series. Also, if the Yankees made it to the World Series, Joe Torre would pick up an option for a new contract for the following year. The contract, despite the pay cut, would still have kept Torre as the highest-paid manager in the game. However, it was portrayed in the New York media as an insult. Torre turned down the offer, ending his era with the Yankees. On October 19, 2007, Torre held a news conference to explain his decision. After first thanking owner George Steinbrenner, he said: "I just felt the contract offer and the terms of the contract were probably the thing I had the toughest time with."

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

Los Angeles Dodgers (2008–present)

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 his post two days before. This marks 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 is valued at $13 million over 3 years.

Torre brought two members of his 2007 Yankees coaching staff with him. Former Yankee great 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. 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.

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 NL 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. 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 the Dodgers had the National League's best record (95–67), clinching the top seed in the Senior Circuit. The Dodgers faced Torre's old club the Cardinals in the National League Division Series, sweeping them three games to nothing. However, they went on to lose to the Philidelphia Phillies in the NLCS in five games, ending their season once again with a loss to the Phillies.

During the 2010 season, Torre and his Dodgers will be playing games against both the Yankees and the Red Sox. Those games will revive the rivalry between the two teams.

Honors and awards

In September 2009, Torre was named Sporting News Manager of the Decade.

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. At the time, the Angels had never appeared in a World Series, and still would not until 2002, beating Torre's Yankees along the way; the Cubs had not, and still have not, appeared in a World Series since 1945.

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. Torre's character manages a team that includes a fictional Babe Ruth.

He appeared in Sesame Street when he was brought by Baby Bear to help Telly catch a ball. Then, when he was walking back to a Yankees game, he threw the ball back to Telly, who caught it.

Torre appeared with Willie Randolph in a set of Subway commercials asking for Randolph's sandwich. The commercials were a play on the Subway Series as Torre had managed the Yankees at the time and Randolph the Mets.

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

On June 15 2009, Torre appeared on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien.

Torre also appeared as himself in the 2002 Mafia comedy Analyze That starring Robert DeNiro and Billy Crystal.

Personal

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

His older brother, Frank Torre was also a Major League Baseball player. He also had another brother, Rocco - an NYPD officer, who died in 1996.

Torre was treated for prostate cancer in 1999.

He is an avid thoroughbred horse racing enthusiast. He is a part owner of Sis City, winner of the 2005 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland Race Course. She had been the dominant 3-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 million Queen's Plate, the first leg of the Canadian Triple Crown. Wild Desert is also partially owned by Keith Jones, an NHL player.

On December 14, 2005, Torre carried the Olympic Torch in Florence, Italymarker, running it 405 meters, ending at the world famous Ponte Vecchiomarker.

In 1997, Torre's autobiography, Chasing the Dream, was released. Later, he authored an advice book, titled Joe Torre's Ground Rules for Winners. 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. His first television interview discussing his book was with Larry King on January 30, 2009.

Joe Torre Foundation

Torre and his wife Ali created the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation, inspired by Torre's experiences growing up as a witness to domestic violence in his home in Brooklyn. The foundation operates approximately a dozen domestic violence resource centers called Margaret's Place,named after Torre's mother, in New York City and Westchester County, New Yorkmarker.

In October 2007, the Joe Torre Foundation partnered with Union City, New Jerseymarker's Board of Education and the North Hudsonmarker Community Action Corporation (NHCAC) to create New Jersey's first Margaret's Place, at Union City's Jose Marti Middle School. Aspects of Union City's Margaret's Place will include a peer counseling program and an anti-violence campaign within the school, in order to encourage children to discuss family problems more freely, and training for teachers and counselors. The haven, which is housed in its own secure room at the school, was funded by a $325,000 grant from Verizon and is administered by health care professionals from North Hudson Community Action Corp.

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

Quotes

  • "I'd like to thank Félix Millán for making all of this possible." (Regarding setting the NL record for most double plays grounded into in a single game, 4, July 21, 1975. Millan batted ahead of Torre in the lineup, singling in all four of his at bats.)
  • (On his thinning hairstyle) "I call it the Watergate. I try to cover up as much as I can."


Managerial record

(updated through October 21, 2008)
Team Year Regular Season Postseason
Won Lost Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
New York Mets 1977 49 68 .419 6th in NL East - - -
1978 66 96 .407 6th in NL East - - -
1979 63 99 .389 6th in NL East - - -
1980 67 95 .414 5th in NL East - - -
19811 17 34 .333 5th in NL East - - -
24 28 .462 4th in NL East - - -
NYM Total 286 420 .405 - - -
Atlanta Braves 1982 89 73 .549 1st in NL West 0 3 .000 Lost NLCS
1983 88 74 .543 2nd in NL West - - -
1984 80 82 .494 3rd in NL West - - -
ATL Total 257 229 .529 0 3 .000 1 Post Season Appearance
St. Louis Cardinals 1990 24 34 .414 6th in NL East - - -
1991 84 78 .519 2nd in NL East - - -
1992 83 79 .512 3rd in NL East - - -
1993 87 75 .537 3rd in NL East - - -
1994 53 61 .465 3rd in NL East - - -
1995 20 27 .426 4th in NL East - - - (fired)
STL Total 351 354 .498 - - -
New York Yankees 1996 92 70 .568 1st in AL East 11 4 .733 Won World Series
1997 96 66 .593 2nd in AL East - Wildcard Team 2 3 .400 Lost ALDS
1998 114 48 .704 1st in AL East 11 2 .846 Won World Series
1999 98 64 .605 1st in AL East 11 1 .917 Won World Series
2000 87 74 .540 1st in AL East 11 5 .688 Won World Series
2001 95 65 .594 1st in AL East 10 7 .588 Lost World Series
2002 103 58 .640 1st in AL East 1 3 .250 Lost ALDS
2003 101 61 .623 1st in AL East 9 8 .529 Lost World Series
2004 101 61 .623 1st in AL East 6 5 .545 Lost ALCS
2005 95 67 .586 1st in AL East 2 3 .400 Lost ALDS
2006 97 65 .599 1st in AL East 1 3 .250 Lost ALDS
2007 94 68 .580 2nd in AL East - Wildcard Team 1 3 .250 Lost ALDS
NYY Total 1,173 767 .605 76 47 .618
Los Angeles Dodgers 2008 84 78 .519 1st in NL West 4 4 .500 Lost NLCS
2009 95 67 .586 1st in NL West 4 4 .500 Lost NLCS
LAD Total 179 145 .552 8 8 .500
AL Total 1,173   767 .605 76 47 .618 Won 4 World Series
NL Total   1,073 1,148 .483

8 11 .421 Won 2 NLDS
Totals 2,246 1,915 .539 84 58 .592 Won 4 World Series


See also



References

  1. The Official Site of The New York Yankees: Team: Manager and Coaches
  2. [1]
  3. ESPN - Torre turns down offer to return as Yanks' skipper - MLB
  4. Stone, Larry, "Ichiro on Sporting News All-Decade team. Who is the Player of the Decade?", The Seattle Times, Sept. 24, 2009. The Seattle Times Co. Retrieved 2009-09-26.
  5. Everyone's Hero (2006)
  6. http://www.mlb.com/mlb/sweepstakes/y2008/state_farm/index.jsp?mode=torre&partnerId=sf_ref
  7. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElGFbN6srd8
  8. Torre visits O'Brien on Tonight Show.
  9. [2]
  10. New York Yankees manager Joe Torre and prostate cancer
  11. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XTpcLGwm8U
  12. Retrosheet Boxscore: Houston Astros 6, New York Mets 2


External links




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