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Joe Torre

From Academic Kids

Joseph Paul Torre (born July 18, 1940 in Brooklyn, New York) is the manager of the New York Yankees and a former Major League Baseball player in the National League for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, and New York Mets. He has also managed each of the teams for which he played.

Breaking into the majors with the Braves in 1960 (his brother Frank's last season with that club), he played primarily as a catcher but also played first base. He was named an All-Star from 1963 to 1967, and won a Gold Glove Award in 1965. On March 17, 1969 he was traded to the Cardinals in exchange for Orlando Cepeda, who had been the league MVP only two seasons earlier. The Cardinals, already having Tim McCarver at catcher and grooming Ted Simmons as his successor, needed Torre's potent bat in the lineup more than his presence behind the plate, and made him their regular first baseman. McCarver's trade to the Philadelphia Phillies after the season led Torre to do the bulk of the team's catching in 1970, but by '71 Simmons was ready and Torre was moved to third base.

The 1971 season saw Torre's play reach its highest level; he led the NL in two triple crown categories - RBIs (137) and batting average (.363) - as well as hits and total bases, and was named the NL's Most Valuable Player. Torre received four more All-Star selections (1970-1973) while with the Cardinals. Following the 1974 season, he was traded to the Mets.

In May 1977, Torre was chosen to take over the managing the Mets. Because he believed he could not do the job properly while still playing, he decided to retire at the age 37. He closed his 18-year career with a .297 batting average, and 252 home runs, 1185 RBIs and 2342 hits.

He managed the Mets through the 1981 season, but was unable to post a winning season; he then took over as manager of the Braves, leading them to the NL Western Division title in his first season (1982) before slipping to second in 1983 and third in '84. After leaving the Braves in 1984, Torre worked in broadcasting in the late 1980s before being asked to manage the Cardinals in mid-1990. He posted a repectable 351-354 with St. Louis, but they were unable to reach the playoffs and Torre was fired in mid-1995.

Torre was named manager of the Yankees on November 2, 1995. Despite never before playing or managing in the American League, he has enjoyed the greatest success of his managerial career. In 1996, by building on the Yankees' wild-card berth in 1995, the Yankees won their first World Series championship since 1978, and 1996 was also the year of Torre's first-ever trip to the Fall Classic. Earning another wild-card spot in 1997, the team roared back with three straight World Series titles in 1998-99-2000.

The 1998 season was Torre's high-water mark. After Yankee Stadium underwent emergency repairs in mid-April, the team caught fire. Sparked by David Wells's perfect game on May 17, the Yankees set a then-American League record 114 regular season games. During the playoffs, the Yankees easily drowned the Texas Rangers, fought off a major challenge from the Cleveland Indians for the AL pennant, and swept the San Diego Padres in the World Series. When ESPN launched its Who's #1? series on June 15, 2004, the 1998 Yankees topped the network's list of Best Teams over the years 1979 to 2003.

Torre was named Manager of the Year for the 1998 Yankees, the year they won their division by 22 games and swept the San Diego Padres in four games to win the World Series. Under Torre, the team has to date won 6 AL pennants and 4 World Series. On May 12, 2003, he won his 1,500th game. On May 8, 2005, Torre reached 900 career wins as manager of the New York Yankees.

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