Tuesday, June 14, 2011

#200 Joe Torre

#200 Joe Torre
Hey Joe, whaddaya know? For the younger fans out there, let this card serve as proof that Joe Torre didn't lose his good looks with age.

Fun facts about Joe Torre:

-Joe was born in Brooklyn, NY and signed with the Braves as a teenager in 1960. His father Joe Sr. was a New York City police detective as well as a scout for the Braves (1955-1961) and Orioles (1962-1971).

-His brother Frank was a first baseman for the Braves (1956-1960) and Phillies (1962-1963), but the siblings never played on the same team in the majors.

-After a cup of coffee in 1960, Joe took over the Braves' starting catcher job in 1961. He hit .278 with 21 doubles, 10 home runs, and 42 RBI in 113 games and earned a runner-up finish to Billy Williams in N.L. Rookie of the Year voting.

-Was an All-Star for five straight seasons with the Braves, peaking in 1966 with a .315/.382/.560 line, 36 home runs, and 101 RBI. Also won a Gold Glove at catcher in 1965.

-In March 1969, Atlanta traded him to the Cardinals even-up for Orlando Cepeda. The Cards already had Tim McCarver (and eventually Ted Simmons) at catcher, so they primarily used Torre at the corner infield positions, which likely prolonged his career. He added four more All-Star nods to his resume (1970-1973), and won the N.L. MVP in 1971 with league-best totals of 230 hits, 137 RBI, a .363 average, and 352 total bases. He also belted 34 doubles, 8 triples, and 24 homers that year.

-He hit for the cycle on June 27, 1973. He hit an RBI double in the first, solo homer in the third, and leadoff triple in the fourth, but grounded into a double play in the fifth. He led off the eighth inning with a walk, and asked to be pinch-run for with St. Louis already up 11-4 on the Pirates. But manager Red Schoendienst left him in, and he completed the cycle with a two-out RBI single in the ninth.

-He returned to New York in 1975 via a trade to the Mets. He manned third base until June 1977, when he retired as a player shortly after being named the club's manager. In parts of 18 seasons, he batted .297 with 252 home runs and 1,185 RBI.

-Joe's managerial career did not go smoothly, though few truly do. He won only 40.5% of his games as Mets skipper before leaving to take the Braves' post for the 1982 season. Atlanta won the N.L. West in his first season at the helm, but fell in the playoffs to the Cardinals. He was fired after slipping to third place in 1984, and spent several seasons broadcasting Angels games. He got another shot at managing with St. Louis in 1990, but had a losing record (351-354) when the club axed him after a quarter of the 1995 season.

-When George Steinbrenner hired him as the Yankees' manager prior to the 1996 season, the decision was widely ridiculed. But "Clueless Joe", as the headlines called him, seemed to have the right disposition for the job. New York won the World Series in four of his first five seasons on the job after a 15-year "drought", and collected 10 A.L. East pennants and a pair of Wild Cards in his 12 years on the job. He ultimately walked away after the 2007 season, and won two more division crowns in three years as Dodgers manager before retiring at the end of the 2010 season. He finished with 2,326 wins in 29 years, fifth-best all-time. It's widely expected that he will be selected for the Hall of Fame before long. The rest of the top 10 in managerial wins are already in Cooperstown with the exceptions of Tony LaRussa, who is still active, and Bobby Cox, who also just retired.

-Joe is still active in baseball, serving Bud Selig as MLB's executive vice president for baseball operations. He oversees the umpires, disciplinary measures, and more.
#200 Joe Torre (back)


  1. LOL, I hadn't even read your first line and my thought was 'He looks exactly the same now!'.

  2. One more fun fact: July 21, 1975, Felix Millan singled 4 times. After each single, Joe Torre hit into a double play to set a NL record.

  3. Actually, I think he looks worse in the picture than he does now.

    Unfortunately for Torre, when the Braves first moved to Atlanta in 1966, he was my younger cousin's favorite player. All my friends hated my cousin and,by extension, Joe Torre, so that we once had a Joe Torre baseball card burning.

  4. Bob - Great minds think alike.

    2nd commenter - Torre's postgame quote was great...he thanked Felix for making it all possible!

    Marc - Wow, and here I thought they were just burning Beatles records in 1966!