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Torre, Joe

Joe Torre

1940-

American baseball manager

Best known today as the manager of the New York Yankees, Joe Torre began his career in major league baseball as a player. Torre was 20 years old when he was signed with the Milwaukee Braves in 1960, and he remained a professional baseball player until 1977. In 1977, Torre began a new career as a manager of baseball teams, starting out as manager of the New York Mets, moving on to the Atlanta Braves, and then the St. Louis Cardinals, and finally to the New York Yankees. Torre's numerous honors include playing on All-Star teams in 1963-1967, and again in 1970-1973. In 1971, he led the National League in runs batted in (RBIs) and in batting average. Also in 1971, he was named Most Valuable Player. He has received recognition as an outstanding manager as well, in 1982 and 1998 earning distinction as Manager of the Year.

Following in His Brothers' Footsteps

Joe Torre was born in Brooklyn, NY on July 18, 1940. He was the youngest of two girls and three boys born to a New York City police department detective and his wife Margaret. Torre's older brothers, Rocco and Frank became professional baseball players before Torre did, although Rocco's baseball career was cut short when he joined the Navy. Frank Torre became a major league baseball player in 1956. Torre himself began his pro baseball career at the age of 20 as a player for the Milwaukee Braves in 1960. For this one season, Torre and his older brother Frank played on the same team.

Torre's career got off to a great start; on his very first time at bat, he hit a single. The following season, he was named the number two rookie of the year, second only to Billy Williams. By 1963, Torre was playing as both catcher and at first base, and that year was named to the All-Star Teama distinction that would be repeated for the next four seasons. In 1964, Torre was the leading fielder among National League catchers, and in 1965, he won the catchers Golden Glove award. Also, in that year's All-Star Game, he hit a two-run homer that assured the National League's victory over the American League in a score of 6-5.

In 1966, Torre went with the Braves when they moved to Atlanta. That year was one of his best; he hit 36 home runs, a feat he would never repeat. His batting average that year was .315, and he batted in 101 runs. Torre's pace was slowed in 1968 when he broke a broken cheekbone. He moved to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1969 when he was traded for Orlando Cepeda. His first position with the Cardinals was at first base, and he again became a catcher in 1970, but moved to third base

that same season. He again hit his stride in 1971. In that year, he led the National League in batting and was named the league's Most Valuable Player.

From Player to Manager

Torre was traded to the team that was to be the last of his playing career in 1974, the New York Mets. He welcomed this chance to play for his hometown, New York City. He traded his career as player for a managing career in 1977. That year he retired as a player and became the Mets' manager, replacing outgoing manager Joe Frazier. Torre managed the Mets until 1984. In his final year as manager of the Mets, his team lost about as many games as they won, and this led to Torre's dismissal. He stayed in the game, however, becoming a television broadcaster for the California Angels, a position he held for close to six seasons.

In 1990, Torre returned to managing, this time working for another of his old teams, the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals performed well under Torre, in 1991 becoming the second-ranked team in the National League. The year 1994, however was not as good a year for the Cardinals, and Torre was replaced as manager by Mike Jorgensen.

Leading the Yankees to Victory

The American League's New York Yankees hired Torre the following year to manage their club, and his first year there saw the Yankees' triumph over the Atlanta Braves for their first World Series win since 1978. Torre never lost his touch with the Yankees, in 1998 leading his team to an American League record number of wins, 114. Also in 1998, Torre was named American League Manager of the Year.

Torre's success with the Yankees during this time was tempered by the death of his brother Rocco, who died of a heart attack in June 1996. Torre himself had a scare when, in March 1999, he was found in a routine exam to have prostate cancer. He left the team to undergo treatment, which included surgery. Treatment was successful, and he returned to managing the Yankees in May 1999. By 2001, the Yankees had won five World Series under Torrein 1996 (the first since 1978), 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001.

Many observers credit Torre's rock-steady demeanor in part for the Yankees' phenomenal success with Torre as manager. As catcher Joe Girardi told the Denver Post 's John Henderson, of Torre, "He has a calming effect. He never panics. You can see it on the bench. He never panics when we're going through rough times. And he never gets too high."

Chronology

1940 Born on July 18 in Brooklyn, NY
1960 Begins professional baseball career as a player for the Milwaukee Braves
1963-66 Plays on the Sporting News All-Star Team
1966 Moves with the Braves to Atlanta
1966 Hits 36 home runs, his career best
1969 Moves to the St. Louis Cardinals
1974 Moves to the New York Mets
1977 Becomes manager of the New York Mets
1984 Becomes television sportscaster for the California Angels
1990 Becomes manager of the St. Louis Cardinals
1995 Becomes manager of the New York Yankees
1997 Publishes memoir called Chasing the Dream: My Lifelong Journey to the World Series
1999 Publishes management guide called Joe Torre's Ground Rules for Winners: 12 Keys to Managing Team Players, Tough Bosses, Setbacks, and Success

Awards and Accomplishments

1963-66 Named to the All-Star Team
1965 Won Golden Glove award
1971 Named the Most Valuable Player of the National League
1996 Led the New York Yankees to their first World Series win since 1978
1998 Named the American League's Manger of the Year
1998-2001 Led the New York Yankees to victory in the World Series

Torre gives his players more credit than himself for their success. His job, as he sees it, is largely to stay out of their way and let them do their jobs. As he told Henderson in the Denver Post, "I know as a player, I wanted the manager to give me the benefit of the doubt that I knew how to play the game." And, "What I try to dois insulate them from distractions and have them concentrate on playing the game."

To the title of manager, Torre has added the title of motivational speaker; in the off-season, he coaches executives on how to successfully manage their teams of employees. As a speaker, he commands fees of $50,000 to $75,000 per appearance.

SELECTED WRITINGS BY TORRE:

Chasing the Dream: My Lifelong Journey to the World Series. New York: Bantam, 1997.

Career Statistics

Yr Team AVG GP AB R H HR RBI BB SO SB
ATL: Atlanta Braves; MIL: Milwaukee Braves; NYM: New York Mets; STL: St. Louis Cardinals.
1960 MIL .500 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
1961 MIL .278 113 406 40 113 10 42 28 60 3
1962 MIL .282 80 220 3 62 5 26 24 24 1
1963 MIL .293 142 501 57 147 14 71 42 79 1
1964 MIL .321 154 601 87 193 20 109 36 67 2
1965 MIL .291 148 523 68 152 27 80 61 79 0
1966 ATL .315 148 546 83 172 36 101 60 61 0
1967 ATL .277 135 477 67 132 20 68 49 75 2
1968 ATL .271 115 424 45 115 10 55 34 72 1
1969 STL .289 159 602 72 174 18 101 66 85 0
1970 STL .325 161 624 89 203 21 100 70 91 2
1971 STL .363 161 634 97 230 24 137 63 70 4
1972 STL .289 149 544 71 157 11 81 54 64 3
1973 STL .287 141 519 67 149 13 69 65 78 2
1974 STL .282 147 529 59 149 11 70 69 88 1
1975 NYM .247 114 361 33 89 6 35 35 55 0
1976 NYM .306 114 310 36 95 5 31 21 35 1
1977 NYM .176 26 51 2 9 1 9 2 10 0

Joe Torre's Ground Rules for Winners: 12 Keys to Managing Team Players, Tough Bosses, Setbacks, and Success. New York: Hyperion, 1999.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Periodicals

Henderson, John. "Serenity Now Joe Torre Doesn't Have to Burn with Fire to Manage the Most Fiery Franchise in Baseball." Denver Post (May 29, 1998): D1.

Kennedy, Randy. "Torre Far From Sandlot but Close to Home." New York Times (October 19, 1996): 1.

Other

"Frank Torre." BaseballLibrary.com. http://www.pubdim.net/baseballlibrary/ballplayers/T/Torre_Frank.stm (November 22, 2002).

"Frank Torre: 'I Didn't Pull a Pettitte." CANOE. http://www.canoe.ca/96WorldSeries/oct28_front.html (November 25, 2002).

"Frank Torre Statistics." Baseball-Reference.com. http://www.baseball-reference.com/t/torrefr01.shtml (November 25, 2002).

"Joe Torre." BaseballLibrary.com. http://www.pubdim.net/baseballlibrary/ballplayers/T/Torre_Joe.stm (November 13, 2002).

"Joe Torre." Leading Authorities. http://www.leadingauthorities.com/search/biography.htm?s=4203. (November 13, 2002).

"Joe Torre." RLR Associates Ltd. http://www.rlrassociates.net/clients/torre.html (November 13, 2002).

" Joe Torre Statistics." Baseball Almanac. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/player.php?p=torrejo01 (November 13, 2002).

"Joe Torre Statistics." Baseball-reference.com. http://www.baseball-reference.com/t/torrejo01.shtml (November 13, 2002).

Sketch by Michael Belfiore

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Torre, Joe

Joe Torre (Joseph Paul Torre, Jr.), 1940–, American baseball player and manager, b. Brooklyn, N.Y. Torre first played major league ball as a catcher for the Milwaukee Braves (1960–68), then moved (1969–75) to the St. Louis Cardinals. In 1971 he led the National League in batting and was named the league's most valuable player. Traded to the New York Mets in 1975, he retired from active play two years later; he then managed (1977–81) the team, but did not have a single winning season. He later skippered (1982–84) the Atlanta Braves, was a sportscaster in the later 1980s, and managed (1990–95) the St. Louis Cardinals. Hired (1995) by the New York Yankees, Torre led the team to a dozen consecutive American League playoffs (1996–2007) and four World Series titles (1996, 1998–2000), and became baseball's highest-paid manager. After the 2007 season, Torre declined the Yankees' offer of a one-year contract and became (2007–10) the Los Angeles Dodgers' manager.

See his Chasing the Dream (1997) and The Yankee Years (2008).

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"Torre, Joe." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved April 23, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/torre-joe