HOF Profile: Joe Torre

New York Yankees' manager Joe Torre oversees a pregame worko

The saying goes “Those who can’t do, teach” and that can be the case many times in sports. The greatest players don’t always make the best coaches but sometimes those players that fly under the radar can have amazing careers on the bench. Then there are the people like Joe Torre who wasn’t an all-time great players in the MLB but was not a player that spent time in and out of the minor leagues. He was a player that had a great playing career for 17 years and then transferred to having an amazing career as a manager. What makes a great manager is an understanding of the game better than most people. In many cases it takes someone who understands the game to the point where they can see that the norm is not necessarily working and that something new could help a team to win. It is also more about finding ways to get those wins ahead of other managers and using the players at your disposal to the best of their ability. Sometimes the top players in the league cannot get this part as they know what worked for them and not necessarily what works for everyone. The players that may not have been the superstars seem to get it a bit more as they are the ones that have been to a few teams and seen how it was done. These are the players that understand their teammates and understand what works for certain players. It is a hard thing to do to adjust from playing to managing and having success in both. That is what Joe Torre did in his long career in baseball and that is why he is entering the hall of fame as a member of the 2014 class. Torre is entering the hall more for being a manager than a player as his success as a manager far outweighed his success as a player but the transition cannot be denied. Out of the host of managers earning their spots in the hall this year Torre is by far the best player of the bunch and that just makes his path to election that much greater. Overall it was his ability to understand the players he had and to get them to perform at the top-level, which was a skill that he learned from his time as a player.

As a player Torre would begin his career in 1960 when he joined the Milwaukee Braves right out of high school. His playing career would see him have stints in St. Louis and New York where he would be named an All-Star 9 times. In 1971 he would have his best season winning the National League Batting Title and being named the National League MVP. As good as his playing career was it wasn’t until 1977 when his hall of fame statistics would come into light. He was named the manager of the New York Mets in his last season as a player. The new calling would turn out to be the right call for Torre as he would see more success on the bench than off. Still he would have some difficulty with teams that did not have the most talent. After a year off as a broadcaster Torre would get the chance of a lifetime to manage the New York Yankees. He was hand-picked by George Steinbrenner to a lot of controversy but that would prove to be unfounded. With the money behind the Yankees and Torre’s managing style the Pinstripes would find their greatest period of success. It is far from an easy task to manage multiple superstars in the same locker room like the Yankees had but that is exactly what Torre would do. It would translate to 4 World Series Championships in the late 1990s in one of the most dominant periods for the Yankees. A lot of that would have to do with their manager being able to get the best out of the players in the room and that was Joe Torre who will enter the hall of fame and take a spot as one of the greatest managers of all time.

joe_torre

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