We remember Joe Torre as a Yankee legend; the man who turned around a franchise in need of a World Series win after suffering an 18-year drought. Saturday, Torre’s number six was retired and he was inducted to into Monument Park, joining a myriad of Yankee greats.
Aside from his .605 winning percentage as the Yankee’s skipper, Torre’s glory sometimes gets too hyped up. It tends to be forgotten that he inherited a team built by former manager Buck Showalter and general manager Gene Michael. Michael built the farm system in the early 1990s. He produced players such as Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera. The team was already stocked with big name players such as Paul O’ Neill, Bernie Williams, Wade Boggs and they had recently acquired Tino Martinez. David Cone and Jimmy Key led the pitching staff.
It almost seems impossible to not win 1173 games with a team like that. Torre’s managerial record before coming to the Yankees was 894-1003. During his 15 years prior to being the Yankees’ manager he was the skipper of the Mets, Braves and Cardinals.
It’s important to understand that Torre did a lot for the Yankees, and he was part of the reason they were so successful. But, the way baseball fans have credited him is absolutely absurd.
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Players win championships; they dictate the way a baseball game is played. When there are two outs in the bottom of the ninth and a manager uses a pinch hitter, and that player hits a home run, the player is the hero. What Joe Torre did is respectful and great in many ways, but the Yankee dynasty was and always will be because of the immense player talent.