Torre, Joe

Joseph Paul Torre
Born: July 18, 1940, Brooklyn, New York
Bats: 
Right
Throws: 
Right
Played For: 
Milwaukee Braves (1960-1965), Atlanta Braves (1966-1968), St. Louis Cardinals (1968-1974), New York Mets (1975-1977)
Elected to the Hall of Fame by Veterans Committee: 2014
Biography: 

 

Managed For: New York Mets (1977-1981), Atlanta Braves (1982-1984), St. Louis Cardinals (1990-1995), New York Yankees (1996-2007), Los Angeles Dodgers (2008-2010)

He was a nine-time All-Star and the 1971 National League Most Valuable Player who totaled 2,342 hits in 18 big league seasons.

And Joe Torre was just getting warmed up. Because in 29 seasons as a manager, Torre became one of only five skippers to win at least four World Series titles.

Born July 18, 1940 in Brooklyn, N.Y., Torre followed in his brother Frank’s footsteps and signed with the Braves out of high school. He hit .344 with the Class C Eau Claire Braves in his first pro season in 1960 and appeared in two games with Milwaukee that fall. The next season, Torre finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year balloting and even earned a handful of NL Most Valuable Player votes after hitting .278 with 10 homers and 42 RBI as the Braves regular catcher.

[Scouting Reports on Joe Torre]

Torre served as the Braves’ backup catcher in 1962, then emerged as a regular in 1963 when he hit .293 with 14 homers and 71 RBI while earning his first All-Star Game selection. Over the next five seasons, Torre became one of the best hitting backstops in the game, peaking with 36 home runs in 1966. He earned a Gold Glove Award in 1965.

But after a contract dispute, Torre found himself traded to St. Louis in Spring Training of 1969 in exchange for future Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda. The Cardinals installed Torre at first base, and he responded with 18 homers, 101 RBI and a .289 average. After splitting time between catcher and third base in 1970 – and hitting 21 home runs to go with 100 RBI – Torre became a full-time third baseman in 1971, leading the NL with 230 hits to go with a .363 batting average, 24 home runs and 137 RBI. He was named the league’s Most Valuable Player.

Torre never repeated those numbers, but remained a productive corner infielder for the next several seasons. Then in October of 1974, the Cardinals sent Torre home to play for the Mets in a deal for Ray Sadecki and Tommy Moore.

“Right now, I picture him at third base,” said Mets manager Yogi Berra at the time of the trade.

However, the Mets’ management had other long-term ideas. After two seasons as a semi-regular in 1975 and 1976, the Mets hired Torre to manage the club 45 games into the 1977 season. Torre served as a player/manager briefly, making his final appearance as a player on June 17. He finished his playing career with 2,342 hits, a .297 batting average, 252 home runs and 1,185 RBI.

“(The Mets) came to me late in (1976) and told me I had a chance to go to the Yankees,” Torre toldNewsday in 1996. “But I said I didn’t want to go if it was going to cost me a chance to manage (the Mets) in the future.”

Torre skippered the Mets through the 1981 season, posting a record of 286-420 before taking over the Braves in 1982. In Atlanta, Torre led the team to a 13-0 record to start the season en route to an 89-73 record and the Braves’ first NL West division title since 1969. The Braves lost to the Cardinals in the 1982 NLCS, and after 88 wins in 1983 and 80 in 1984 the Braves released him.

Torre worked as a broadcaster for the Angels from 1985-90 before replacing Whitey Herzog as the Cardinals’ manager during the 1990 season. From 1991-94, the Cardinals finished second or third every season before Torre was dismissed midway through the 1995 campaign.

Then in 1996, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner hired Torre as his team’s manager – a move criticized in the media at the time. Torre entered his Yankees career with a record of 894-1,003 – but led New York to 92 wins that first season before winning the ALCS against the Orioles and then rallying from an 0-2 deficit to beat the Braves in the World Series.

The Yankees won 96 games and a Wild Card berth in 1997, then strung together three straight World Series titles from 1998-2000 – highlighted by the 114 games the 1998 team won during the regular season. The Yankees won the AL Pennant again in 2001, then posted three straight 100-plus win seasons, including another AL Pennant in 2003. The Bronx Bombers advanced to the playoffs each year form 2005-07 before Torre was let go – making in 12 playoff trips in 12 seasons for the Yankees under Torre.

“He’s a great manager,” said former Yankees third baseman Scott Brosius. “There is more to (managing) than who to pitch and play. It’s managing people, the press… and Joe does that all great. Players follow the tone set by the manager, and Joe is the calming influence of this team.”

Torre moved on to manage the Dodgers from 2008-10, winning two more division titles. In his final 15 seasons as a manager, Torre led his clubs to the playoffs 14 times.

“When you have the resume that he has and you see how he has done it, with a calmness that he has been able to display in many difficult situations… you know you are getting a quality human being,” said Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti when Torre was hired.

Torre’s four World Series titles rank tied for fourth all time behind Joe McCarthy (7), Casey Stengel(7) and Connie Mack (5) and tied with Walter Alston. He finished his 29 seasons as a manager with a record of 2,326-1,997, good for a .538 career winning percentage. Only Connie Mack, John McGraw, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox have won more games as a big league manager.

Rk Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% G Finish
1 1977 36 New York Mets NL 49 68 .419 117 6
2 1978 37 New York Mets NL 66 96 .407 162 6
3 1979 38 New York Mets NL 63 99 .389 163 6
4 1980 39 New York Mets NL 67 95 .414 162 5
5 1981 40 New York Mets NL 17 34 .333 52 5
6 1981 40 New York Mets NL 24 28 .462 53 4
                   
7 1982 41 Atlanta Braves NL 89 73 .549 162 1
8 1983 42 Atlanta Braves NL 88 74 .543 162 2
9 1984 43 Atlanta Braves NL 80 82 .494 162 3
                   
10 1990 49 St. Louis Cardinals NL 24 34 .414 58 6
11 1991 50 St. Louis Cardinals NL 84 78 .519 162 2
12 1992 51 St. Louis Cardinals NL 83 79 .512 162 3
13 1993 52 St. Louis Cardinals NL 87 75 .537 162 3
14 1994 53 St. Louis Cardinals NL 53 61 .465 115 3
15 1995 54 St. Louis Cardinals NL 20 27 .426 47 4
                   
16 1996 55 New York Yankees AL 92 70 .568 162 1
17 1997 56 New York Yankees AL 96 66 .593 162 2
18 1998 57 New York Yankees AL 114 48 .704 162 1
19 1999 58 New York Yankees AL 98 64 .605 162 1
20 2000 59 New York Yankees AL 87 74 .540 161 1
21 2001 60 New York Yankees AL 95 65 .594 161 1
22 2002 61 New York Yankees AL 103 58 .640 161 1
23 2003 62 New York Yankees AL 101 61 .623 163 1
24 2004 63 New York Yankees AL 101 61 .623 162 1
25 2005 64 New York Yankees AL 95 67 .586 162 1
26 2006 65 New York Yankees AL 97 65 .599 162 1
27 2007 66 New York Yankees AL 94 68 .580 162 2
                   
28 2008 67 Los Angeles Dodgers NL 84 78 .519 162 1
29 2009 68 Los Angeles Dodgers NL 95 67 .586 162 1
30 2010 69 Los Angeles Dodgers NL 80 82 .494 162 4
      New York Mets   286 420 .405 709 5.3
      Atlanta Braves   257 229 .529 486 2.0
      St. Louis Cardinals   351 354 .498 706 3.5
      New York Yankees   1173 767 .605 1942 1.2
      Los Angeles Dodgers   259 227 .533 486 2.0
          2326 1997 .538 4329 2.6