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 been a manager for most of 30 years, from 1977 to 2010. He is currently 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 St. Louis for Orlando Cepeda in 1969.
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 rbi in 1971 en route to the MVP award.
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 31. 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 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 Yankee manager.
Torre remained with the Mets through the 1981 season without ever winning more than 66 games in a season. He was hired by the Atlanta Braves for 1982, where he won a division title. 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. 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 in October, 2007, 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 1. He was 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 consider Torre a lock for the Hall of Fame in the next Veterans Committee election after his retirement. He is highlighted in the book Heroes Behind the Mask as one of the top catchers of all-time.
Bud Selig hired Torre as MLB's executive vice president for baseball operations in February 2011. He will oversee major league operations, on-field discipline and umpiring among other things.
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 .
* 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)
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