Joe Torre unanimously elected to Hall of Fame by Expansion Era committee

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(Photo via Mark Feinsand)
(Photo via Mark Feinsand)

The manager of the most recent Yankees’ dynasty is heading to Cooperstown. Joe Torre was unanimously elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the 16-person Expansion Era committee, it was announced. Bobby Cox and Tony LaRussa were elected unanimously as well. Former MLBPA head Marvin Miller, former Yankees manager Billy Martin, former Yankees pitcher Tommy John, and Yankees owner George Steinbrenner were not elected.

“It hits you like a sledgehammer,” said Torre after being elected to the Hall of Fame. “I really have to thank [Joe McDonald] and Donald Grant for allowing me to manage the New York Mets at the age of 36 … once you get into the competition, it never gets old.”

Torre, 73, managed the Yankees from 1996-2007 and led the team to six pennants and four World Series titles. The club went 1,173-767 (.605) during his 12-year tenure and finished in first place ten times. Torre also managed Mets (1977-1981), Braves (1982-1984), Cardinals (1990-1995), and Dodgers (2008-2010), but he is heading to the Hall of Fame because of his success in New York. He is the second winningest manager in franchise history behind Joe McCarthy, who won 1,460 games from 1931-1946.

CluelessJoeCover“On behalf of the Steinbrenner family and our entire organization, I’d like to congratulate Joe Torre on his induction today into the Hall of Fame,” said Hal Steinbrenner in a statement. “Joe led our team during one of the most successful runs in our storied history, and he did it with a quiet dignity that was true to the Yankee way. Joe’s place in Yankees history has been secure for quite some time and it is appropriate that he now gets to take his place among the greats in Cooperstown.”

As a player, Torre hit .297/.365/.452 (129 OPS+) with 2,342 hits and 252 homeruns in parts of 18 seasons. He spent the majority of his career as a catcher and first baseman but also played some third. He won the 1971 NL MVP with the Cardinals, when he led baseball in hits (230), batting average (.363), runs driven in (137) and total bases (352). Torre, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, also played for the Braves and Mets. Although his playing career was excellent, he’s going in as a manager.

Miller, Martin, John, and Steinbrenner all received fewer than six votes. Twelve votes are needed for induction. Miller not being elected is ridiculous given his impact on baseball and the union, but he’s been getting snubbed for years. It’s par for the course at this point. Steinbrenner’s legacy is a mixed bag with a lot of good and a lot of bad. I think he belongs and will eventually get in, but I can definitely understand him being left out. That’s a case worthy of much debate.

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  • The Other Mister D

    Congratulations to all three men (and two former Yankees) – honors well earned. Hope to see Miller and the Boss in there eventually.

    • Dave in VA

      I was amused in the ’96 WS that the Yankees were being managed by a career NLer who made a big impression while with the Braves, and the Braves were being managed by a former Yankee who’d gotten his managerial start in the Yankee farm system.

  • TWTR

    Good for them, although I didn’t think Torre was a particularly good manager.

    • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

      He wasn’t perfect, but he was pretty darn good.

      • TWTR

        He had a near perfect team here. Once the bridge to Mariano weakened, he was exposed.

        In terms of bullpen management, Girardi’s unwillingness to overuse good relievers, and be patient with marginal ones, is in stark contrast to what Torre did poorly.

        • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

          I believe Torre was a great clubhouse handler, but a mediocre/average/unremarkable game and bullpen manager.

          However, I also think the media and clubhouse handling is almost as important as game-related activity, so, he comes in as slightly above average in my book.

          Definitely boosted by the team, but he was probably the right guy for the job too.

          • TWTR

            Fair points, but without the great team, would people care much about the clubhouse handing?

            That’s why I think that aspect is secondary.

          • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

            I agree with your assessment of his skills (or lack thereof) but disagree with your positioning of media/clubhouse handling vs on field stuff. To me it matters, but not nearly so much as you and others believe. Just my opinion.

            • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

              In places like KC, Oakland, etc, yeah I’d be on your side.

              I think NY is a special case, here.

    • MB923

      If you exclude his very poor managerial experience with the Mets, he managed 24 other seasons and finished .500 or better in 20 of them (and 2 of the 4 seasons that did not finish .500 or better were short tenures, a 24-34 record in ’90 and a 20-27 in ’95)). On 15 MOTY ballots, winning it twice. Made the playoffs 15 times, the pennant 6 times, 4 time WS champion

      And if you want to say a lot had to do with the roster, you surely can go right ahead. Cox had one of the best pitching trios, Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones in his prime years, etc.

      LaRussa had McGwire, Eck, Rickey Henderson, Pujols. I can go on.

  • I’m One

    Surprised George wasn’t elected in. He had far more impact on the game than Torre, Cox and LaRussa, imho.

    • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

      Yeah. Someday this will he acknowledged.

  • Pat D

    I’m a bit surprised that all 3 guys were unanimous, as that’s something that never happens in these elections, but good for them. They are all pretty much no-brainers, especially when compared with other managers in the HOF.

    I am surprised that Marvin Miller’s vote total dropped the way it did, since it means that not all of the former players voted for him this time around, but not surprised that he wasn’t elected.

    As for Steinbrenner, we all know that it’s going to take awhile for him to be elected. Hopefully not as long as it took Jacob Ruppert to be elected, but it’s not going to be anytime soon at this rate.

    • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

      This committee isn’t possessed of the same dbaggery as the writers who vote, ,so it doesn’t surprise me.

      • Pat D

        Not sure I follow your line of thought.

  • RetroRob

    Two thoughts.

    It’s easier to be elected as a manager than a player right now, or a starting pitcher from the last generation.

    The Yankees should have a retirement ceremony and plaque for Monument Park. Make sure it’s a big celebration when the Mariners are in town so Cano can be reminded of well, you know…

    • Kosmo

      I like your 2nd thought.

      • Havok9120

        Indeed.

  • mike

    I wonder if he will wear a Yankee hat, or maybe he was elected because of his great job with the Braves and Mets?

    • Pat D

      Clearly going to wear a Dodgers hat.

  • Kosmo

    Yanks for the most part have been blessed with good to great managers.
    Huggins-McCarthy-Stengel-Houk-Martin-Torre.

    • RetroRob

      I think to be a HOF manager you need to be blessed with very good teams. I don’t necessarily mean that as a knock on managers being elected, but while a great player can be elected playing for bad teams, I don’t think it’s possible today for any manager to be elected without the talent.

      • Havok9120

        Agreed.

      • Kosmo

        for sure.

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      Have we been blessed with good to great managers, or do those men look good to great because they were blessed with great teams?

      Obviously the answer could be “the players AND the manager were great”, but is a manager who wins a title a good manager by definition?

  • Kvothe

    Racist commishes in the HoF, but not Marvin Miller. Woo.

    • Pat D

      Landis was like Doug Piranha. Everyone was terrified of him.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner (the rarely spoken-of sibling)

    Obviously, the omissions are ridiculous, but I couldn’t think of three more deserving men than the three elected. Three of our generation’s finest managers. Congrats.

    • I’m One

      Hey, missed the whole name change thing you did (away from aquarian names) Friday and over the weekend, so just want to say this must be an illegitimate child of either George & Laura (hopefully) or George & Jorge (God forbid!).

      Personally, I can’t see how George could have been left off while granting these guys admission. Like him or hate him, George changed the game. These guys just managed players on the field (granted, they all did it quite well).

  • http://www.twitter.com/_swarlesbarkley Mark Teixeira – Ghostbuster (formerly Drew)

    Nice to know that even back in 1995 that Ian O’Connor was a complete moron.

    • Pat D

      Sportswriters don’t suddenly become morons. They always are.

  • http://www.twitter.com/mattpat11 Matt DiBari

    Yawkey, Comiskey and Veeck are in the Hall of Fame. George belongs in.

  • Reuben Sierra’s Chains

    Torre was awesome. The way he handled the team through all those years especially the media was magnificent. BRAVO JOE BRAVO!!

  • Eddard

    The only black mark against Torre is that he sold his soul to make a quick buck. He never should have written that tell all book. Even if it was true you never throw your players under the bus. His merits on the field are HOF worthy but his character is not.

  • TomG

    I can’t take a Hall of Fame without Marvin Miller seriously. The whole thing is kind of a farce anyway. They call it the “National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum” like it’s a branch of the Smithsonian or something; it’s really just a marketing gimmick for MLB.

  • Ramond

    When Bigelow Tea man is inducted, he better thank George Steinbrenner because before the Yankees gave him a chance, he was a shitty manager. In terms of managing, not as a player, the Yankees made him!!!