Legendary New York Yankees manager Joe Torrre has been selected to join baseball’s most prestigious fraternity. Word came out this morning that 3 managers, Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox, will be heading to Cooperstown. La Russa, Cox and Torre rank 3, 4 and 5 respectively in managerial wins in the history of baseball. This is a well deserved accolade for all three, but I will focus on Torre.
Torre managed in the big leagues for 29 seasons with the New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers.He had a career record in that time of 2326-1997, but he is most well known as a manager for the time he spent in the Bronx at the helm of the Yankees.
He managed the Yanks for 12 seasons, from 1996-2007, amassing a staggering 1173-767 record (that’s a 60.5% winning percentage). His Yankees teams only failed to win 90 games once during his tenure. With that string of success during the regular season Torre also was able to navigate the club to 4 World Series titles and 6 AL pennants and 10 Al East division crowns, all with his calm, cool and unflappable demeanor. That is a stretch of dominance that no manager in my lifetime has accomplished (only Bobby Cox’s 15 straight NL East Titles come close, but his Braves won only one World Series, so I’ll take Torre’s resume over his). Torre was also named AL manager of the Year on two occasions, 1996 and 1998 (both as Yankees skipper).
I, personally, marvel at the consistency he was able to achieve with his Yankees teams. Making the World Series 6 times in 12 seasons is an incredible feat in the modern game where free agency allows players to move around almost at will. Those teams had an aura about them that was reflective of Torre’s personality, calm but extremely motivated. I doubt we will ever see another stretch where a team makes 6 World Series appearances in 8 seasons as Torre’s Yankees were able to do, it’s almost an unthinkable achievement. Congratulations to Joe Torre on his induction into the Hall of Fame, you have earned it.
(Statistics via baseball-reference.com)