Monday, July 28, 2014

Joey From The Block

Yesterday was enshrinement day at the Baseball Hall-of-Fame in Cooperstown, New York.  Among the men whose name was called was Joe Torre.

His greatest achievement in a life spent in baseball, which as a player included being named an All-Star multiple times, winning the 1971 National League MVP and retiring with a .297 batting average, was being the leader of baseball's last dynasty.  The New York Yankees of the second half of the 1990's appeared in the World Series in 1996, 1998 and 1999, all three of which they won and during which they won twelve consecutive World Series games (coming back from two games down to defeat Bobby Cox's Atlanta Braves in 1996 and then sweeping the San Diego Padres in '98 and Cox's Braves again in '99).  They then won their fourth and final World Series on Torre's watch in 2000 when they blasted the Mets in five games to capture the only Subway Series played in my lifetime.  

Torre's Yankees made it to the World Series twice after 2000.  In 2001, when the September 11th attacks pushed the World Series into November for the first time his Yankees lost an all-time classic in the bottom of the 9th inning of Game Seven against the Arizona Diamondbacks.  Two years later - after besting the Red Sox in an epic ALCS - the Yankees lost to the Florida Marlins.  They would not make another trip. 

After the 2007 season, Torre and the Yankees went their separate ways.  The Brooklyn boy had one more managerial stint in him - going West to manage his once-upon-a-lifetime ago hometown team, the Dodgers.  Under his guidance, the Dodgers made it to the NLCS in 2008 and 2009 but lost to the Phillies both times.  Had his Dodgers defeated Philadelphia in 2009, then he would have managed in the World Series against the Yankees.  

In yesterday's New York Daily News, Anthony McCarron wrote a beautiful profile of Torre and his journey from the stoops of Brooklyn to Cooperstown's hallowed Hall.  If you are - as I am - a Torre fan it is worth reading.  

Congratulations to a good man on receiving his due.  

-AK 

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