Don't underestimate Torre's impact on Yankees
Joe Torre never spent hours poring over statistics or videotape like a lot of young managers do these days. He wasn't a workaholic type who obsessed about getting to work earlier than his peers. He would have a nice lunch, and then he would shave cleanly after games -- wins or losses -- as he prepared for a late dinner at a restaurant.It has never been his style to simmer in the aftermath of success or failure, after all. In an era when managers seem to put in more hours than first-year lawyers or hospital residents, Torre might've put in the fewest office hours of any manager in the game.But Torre could delve deeper into the heart of his clubhouse in a 30-second conversation with a player than some managers can in a whole season. He could make the intense Paul O'Neill laugh dolefully at himself, or ask David Cone or Mike Mussina for a suggestion, or stop a slumping youngster at his door with a shout: Hey, kid, how you doing? When Scott Brosius went to him, late in the season in 1999, and told him that he needed to go see his dying father, Torre did not hem or haw or hesitate or fret about violating a century of old-school baseball protocol. Rather, he told Brosius to go home, to be with his dad. When he removed 45-year-old Roger Clemens in the third inning of Game 3 of the Division Series with a fatherly pat on the cheek, it was not the gesture of a manager commiserating with a star who had had a bad night. It was Torre acknowledging, for Clemens' sake, that he knows that Clemens tried, that he knows that for six seasons, Clemens always tried, always cared. Torre's voice cracked when he spoke late Monday night, but not referring to his own situation -- he seemed resigned to his fate -- but when he mentioned his Yankees' effort and their passion. He was not above playing favorites, of course, and some players felt the dark glower of his stare. He wasn't a Pollyanna who liked everybody no matter what. He didn't care for David Wells, or Jeff Nelson, and some of his relievers felt he mistreated them with the workload he foisted upon them. He hung out outfielder Chad Curtis publicly during the 1999 World Series, after Curtis refused to talk with NBC reporter Jim Gray, and even after teammates exonerated Curtis and told Torre that the outfielder had done what they all had agreed to do, Torre never set the record straight. On the other hand, Torre vehemently defended Clemens after the bat-throwing incident in the 2000 World Series, in a way that he did not defend Curtis.John Grieshop/MLB Photos/Getty ImagesSo much of what Joe Torre does well won't be fully defined and appreciated until after he's gone.
Torre CoverageESPN will have live coverage Friday of Joe Torre's 2 p.m. press conference from Rye, N.Y., plus the latest news on the Yankees' manager search:
• SportsCenter Special (ESPN, 1-3 p.m. ET)
While many managers can crunch numbers and know the game, it remains to be seen whether anyone can usher the Yankees through the gantlet of crises the way that Torre has.
MORE MLB HEADLINES
- Cards 3B Carpenter signs $52 million deal
- Royals name Shields as Opening Day starter
- Cardinals' Garcia to see Dr. Andrews again
- No extra replay in place for Australia games
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
YANKEES IN TRANSITION
Joe Torre's 12-year tenure with the Yankees came to an end after he turned down a one-year, $5 million offer to return as their manager. Joe Girardi has agreed to a three-year contract to be Torre's successor.
News• Dodgers' Little resigns; no word on Torre
• Yankees hire Girardi to manage | Changes
• Mattingly still wants to manage
• Reports: Torre could head to Dodgers
• Report: Hank Steinbrenner fires back at Torre
• Torre: Pay cut, incentives doomed deal
• Torre turns down offer to return as skipper
• Shock, sadness greet Torre's departure
• Possible Torre successor hired to manage K.C.
Analysis• Kreidler: Torre, A-Rod would sure help L.A.
• Law: Girardi is perfect choice
• Neyer: Girardi was obvious choice • Gammons: Yankees will survive
• Torre, A-Rod could help some team win
• Nelson: Torre changing his stripes
• Klapisch: Will FAs follow Torre out of Bronx?
• Neyer: Torre headed for Cooperstown
• Olney: Torre led pinstripes with class
• Olney: How it ended for Torre
• Olney: Torre survived a dozen seasons
SportsNation• Rank the all-time managers
• What's next for Yankees?
Audio• Jayson Stark on SportsBash:
• Michael Kay Show: Bowa, Gammons, O'Neill
• Jim Leyritz: It's Series or bust
• Dusty Baker: Torre did right thing
• Michael Kay: Yanks' offer was fair
Photo Gallery• A Bronx legend
- Nike Women's New York Yankees Navy/White Track Jacket
- MLB Home
- AL East
- Baltimore Orioles
- Boston Red Sox
- New York Yankees
- Tampa Bay Rays
- Toronto Blue Jays
- AL Central
- Chicago White Sox
- Cleveland Indians
- Detroit Tigers
- Kansas City Royals
- Minnesota Twins
- AL West
- Houston Astros
- Los Angeles Angels
- Oakland Athletics
- Seattle Mariners
- Texas Rangers
- Fantasy: Sign up!
- Spring blog