Reaction: Torre to Hall, Boss rejected
December, 9, 2013
By Andrew Marchand | ESPNNewYork.com
AP Photo/Pat SullivanJoe Torre was no master tactician, but he's still a Hall of Fame skipper.LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The expansion era committee has unanimously elected Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa to the Hall of Fame, while George Steinbrenner failed to make it on his second try.
THE YANKEE YEARS: When Torre arrived in New York in 1996, he was welcomed by the now famous Daily News back page that read "Clueless Joe." He left as a Hall of Fame manager.
In his first 15 years as a manager before being hired by Steinbrenner, Torre did not have a Hall of Fame record, going 894-1,003 with the New York Mets, Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals. But that all changed when he hooked up with Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte et al, allowing him to win the New York Yankees' first World Series after an 18-year drought. That 1996 championship -- Torre's first as a player or manager -- was followed by three more memorable titles. His record was 1173-767 with the Yankees, including six AL pennants.
Torre probably didn't change much as a manager from his years with lesser clubs, but his steady hand during the Steinbrenner era gave those teams a calm through all the soap operas of a baseball summer in the city. Payroll advantage or not, it is incredible that the Yankees made the playoffs each and every year of his dozen seasons.
By comparison, Joe Girardi has done a fine job, but in his first six years as the Yankees' manager, he has missed the playoffs twice.
THE PLAYER: Torre was a borderline Hall of Fame candidate as a player. He was an MVP in 1971 with the Cardinals and made the All-Star team in half of his 18 seasons. An average year for him, based on playing 162 games, was .297 with 18 homers and 87 RBIs. As a player, he only received 22.2 percent of the ballot in his best showing in 1997.
The committee considered his playing career, but they made it clear that he is being elected as a Hall of Fame manager.
TOO MUCH CREDIT: During Torre's championship tenure in the Bronx, tension developed between The Boss and Torre over the amount of credit the manager received. The Boss felt as if he saved the managerial career of Torre, providing him with great players and transforming him from "Clueless Joe" into a champion. Today's announcement makes for an interesting backdrop.
THE BOSS' CASE: The Steinbrenner family will have to wait another three years before George can be elected into the Hall. Steinbrenner was an overwhelming force in baseball, helping to revitalize the Yankees into champions. However, he was twice suspended from baseball. Upon the second time for the Howie Spira-Dave Winfield incident, the Yankee Stadium fans cheered.
When Steinbrenner returned, he, Torre and the Jeter/Rivera core turned the Yankees back into a dynasty. Still, The Boss is a tough Hall of Fame case to figure out because though he is an iconic figure, is he a Hall of Famer? In 2013, the committee said no, giving him fewer than six votes when he needed at least 12 out of 16 to get in.
QUESTION: What do you think of the voting?