Joe Torre, who won four World Series championships (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000) in his 12 seasons (1996-2007) as the manager of the Yankees, has been unanimously selected into the Hall of Fame.
The Yankees made the playoffs in each of those 12 seasons while advancing to the World Series six times. The Yankees lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2001 World Series and to the Florida Marlins in 2003 Fall Classic. Torre will always be remembered fondly by Yankees fans partly because he led the Yankees to their first World Series victory since 1978, as well as their first dynasty since the late ’50s to early ’60s when the team won four in six years.
Torre grew up in Brooklyn and went to James Madison High in Sheepshead Bay. After high school, Torre was signed as an amateur free agent by the Milwaukee Braves. He continued to play for the Braves when they moved to Atlanta, then was eventually traded before the 1969 season to the St. Louis Cardinals after a feud with management over his salary and then after two sub-par seasons the Cardinals traded him to the Mets before the 1975 campaign where he would play his final three seasons of his career.
In his 18-year career, he played in 903 games as a catcher, 787 games as a first baseman and 515 games a a first baseman. He had an outstanding .990 fielding percentage behind the plate. Offensively, he recorded 2,342 hits, 252 homers, 1,185 runs batted in and a .297 batting average. He won the Most Valuable Player Award in 1971 when he led the NL in average, won the Gold Glove Award in 1965 and was a nine-time All-Star. This amounts to a borderline Hall of Fame career as a player.
Torre managed 14 seasons before truly making a name for himself as the manager of the New York Yankees. His only previous season before 1996 that he was a manger of a team that went to the playoffs was when his 1982 Atlanta Braves team won the their division. Other managing jobs included the Mets for five seasons and guiding the Cardinals to better records than was expected of them at the beginning of the seasons.
However, his decade plus tenure with the Yankees truly was outstanding and he proved that he could manage under pressure. The 1998 team that won 114 regular season games is recognized as one of the best overall teams in baseball’s storied history. Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte, who are collectively known as the core four, came of age under Joe Torre’s guidance. Those four are all Yankee legends and they speak glowingly of Torre.
He handled the bullpen very well and knew when to give a reliever multiple innings or only a few batters. It certainly helped that he had Marino Rivera for the ninth inning for all but the 1996 seasons.
Joe Torre and his wife created the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation, which is in response to Torre being a victim of an abusive father when he was growing up. His physical abuse had been a secret for many years. He and his wife started the Foundation in 2002 to educate children about the topic of domestic abuse. The Foundation has a mission of: “educating to end the cycle of domestic violence and save lives.”
Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox were also named Hall of Famers on Monday. Below is Torre’s reaction to Meredith Marakovits, of the YES Network, on being inducted into the Hall of Fame.