Joe Torre is a lot of things and this year, he is looking to add another to the list. Torre has resigned from his position with MLB as Vice President of Baseball Operations and is now setting his sights towards buying the Los Angeles Dodgers. This doesn’t necessarily mean that he will succeed in his latest venture. Many groups are currently interested in buying the organization despite its current status in baseball. In fact, until this recent news, the favorite to succeed in purchasing the team was the group that includes Magic Johnson.
The Dodgers are a household name in baseball. They are right up there with the Yankees, historically speaking. The sale is expected to exceed $1 billion and maybe by a lot. The price is rumored to be too rich even for the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban. Bidding for the team is sure to get very interesting.
Joe Torre has come a very long way. He started out as a hard nose player with a lot of talent and heart. However, as his career developed, Torre became one of those players known less for his talent and more for his playoff misfortune. Joe played from 1961 to 1977 without ever having seen a post season.
Torre became a player/manager for the Mets in 1977 and his playoff drought continued. After being fired by the Mets in ’81, the Atlanta Braves took a chance on him. He managed the Braves for three years. The first two years, the team played well and in fact it was the first time Torre was able to manage a team to a winning record. However, the Braves simply were not good enough to make it to the post season in either ’82 or ’83. In 1984 the Braves fell off just enough to have a losing record of 80-82. Again, Torre was fired.
It would be six years before the St. Louis Cardinals would ask Torre to take control of their team mid season in 1990. From ’91-’93 the team produced well but again not well enough. Then after two subpar seasons in ’94 and ’95, Torre was let go for a third time with his playoff drought still very much intact.
Another manager was fired after the ’95 season as well. Buck Showalter was let go by the Yankees despite getting them to the playoffs that year as a wild card entry. This opened the door for Torre’s fourth managing opportunity. Torre came to New York a three time loser but in 1996, that all would change.
For the first time in his career, dating back all the way to 1971, Joe Torre was going to be a part of October baseball. The Yankees clinched first place in the AL East with a 92-70 record. This marked the first time as a manager that Torre had broken 90 wins. Torre not only saw his first post season but he won his first of four championship rings.
1996 marked the begining of a turn around for Joe. He was seen as a joke when first coming to New York but 11 years later when he left, he left as one of baseball’s greatest managers. Torre embodies what it means to be a true success story.Growing up an Italian kid in Brooklyn today, it is almost definite that you will be a Yankee fan. That is of course unless you have the misfortune of rooting for New York’s other baseball team. However, in the 1940′s you had options. Torre grew to hate the Yankees and developed a love for none other than the Brooklyn Dodgers. His older brother Frank showed him how to play the game the right way and they both went on to be professional ball players.
Torre has written two books thus far and by the looks of things, he is still not done authoring his life. At 71 years old, he continues to surprise and impress on lookers by the heights he has reached. It is not definite that Torre will succeed in buying the Dodgers, but the fact that Bud Selig likes Torre enough to have him on his own staff only bodes well for the ex player/manager/league official. Having him as an owner can only be positive for baseball and could be what the Dodgers need to restore the organization to greatness.