July 18 – Happy Birthday Joe Torre

I was one of those Yankee fans who screamed the loudest when the recently departed George Steinbrenner pegged this guy to replace Buck Showalter as Yankee manager after the 1995 playoff loss to Seattle. We had good reason to be skeptics. Up until then, Torre had managed the Mets, Braves and Cardinals, losing an average of 90 games per year and compiling a dreadful .472 winning percentage. It seemed as if the Yankees had turned the corner with Showalter and when he got fired, one year after the miserable players strike, I was about ready to stop watching baseball.

Boy was I wrong. 1996 turned out to be one of the, if not the greatest years of my life as a Yankee fan and Joe Torre’s managerial skills were a huge part of the reason why. Not only was he adept at Steinbrenner diplomacy, he was also a great communicator with his players and it seemed every move he made from the dugout was the right one.

Joe’s tenure with the Yankees was a wonderful time in the team’s history (although my euphoria has been significantly dampened with the steroids usage disclosures involving several Yankees who played for Torre) and Yankee fans will always admire and be grateful for the calm, professional way he handled the immense pressure and responsibilities that came with the job.

Here’s a look at the regular season career Yankee won-loss records of the top five winning managers in pinstripe history:

Manager – World Championships Wins Losses Pct.
Joe McCarthy - 7 1460 867 .627
Joe Torre - 4 1173 767 .605
Casey Stengel - 7 1149 696 .623
Miller Huggins – 3 1067 719 .597
Ralph Houk - 2 944 806 .539

Joe shares a birthday with this Yankee pitcher, who started the first game ever in the newly renovated Yankee Stadium in April of 1976. This former Yankee pinch-hitter was also born on July 18th as was this much more recent NY utility infielder.

Here’s Torre’s season-by-season record as Yankee skipper and his lifetime totals by teams he managed during his career:

Rk Year Age Tm Lg G W L W-L% Finish
16 1996 55 New York Yankees AL 162 92 70 .568 1 WS Champs
17 1997 56 New York Yankees AL 162 96 66 .593 2
18 1998 57 New York Yankees AL 162 114 48 .704 1 WS Champs
19 1999 58 New York Yankees AL 162 98 64 .605 1 WS Champs
20 2000 59 New York Yankees AL 161 87 74 .540 1 WS Champs
21 2001 60 New York Yankees AL 161 95 65 .594 1 AL Pennant
22 2002 61 New York Yankees AL 161 103 58 .640 1
23 2003 62 New York Yankees AL 163 101 61 .623 1 AL Pennant
24 2004 63 New York Yankees AL 162 101 61 .623 1
25 2005 64 New York Yankees AL 162 95 67 .586 1
26 2006 65 New York Yankees AL 162 97 65 .599 1
27 2007 66 New York Yankees AL 162 94 68 .580 2
New York Mets 5 years 709 286 420 .405 5.3
Atlanta Braves 3 years 486 257 229 .529 2.0
St. Louis Cardinals 6 years 706 351 354 .498 3.5
New York Yankees 12 years 1942 1173 767 .605 1.2 6 Pennants and 4 World Series Titles
Los Angeles Dodgers 3 years 486 259 227 .533 2.0
29 years 4329 2326 1997 .538 2.6 6 Pennants and 4 World Series Titles
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/18/2013.

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