Editor Speaks Out

By on November 7, 2007


This was the backpage headline of the Nov. 3, 1995 edition of the New York Daily News, the day after the New York Yankees introduced Joe Torre as their new manager.

Apparently, he knew what he was getting into.

Twelve seasons and four World Series rings later, Torre has vacated the position he held so valiantly.

Heading into his first season with the New York Yankees, Torre boasted a not so stellar managerial record of 894 wins and 1,003 losses; equaling a winning percentage of .471.

Torre not only surprised his critics by winning the World Series in his first season as Yankees manager, but continued his success by winning the World Series three consecutive seasons in a row. Torre’s winning percentage on the Yankees was .605 over 12 seasons.

Some may have questioned some of Torre’s decisions on the field – I know I have on occasion – but it is difficult to aruge the man’s leadership abilities. Never have I seen a head coach or manager in my time that has handled the media and his players better than Torre.

I know I can speak for many Yankees fans at QU when I say it will feel funny not having Torre sitting in the dugout on opening day. The 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000 World Series teams hold a special place in my heart, and now the father of that family is gone.

With Torre out, and ready to don Dodger Blue, who could possibly follow in his footsteps? Who has the elbow-grease and capacity to lead the most storied franchise in all of sports?

Joe, of course.

No, not the same Joe, but former Yankees catcher Joe Girardi from the 1996, 1998, and 1999 championship teams.

In my opinion, I believe Girardi was a wise choice. Although I had no quarrels with the way Torre handled things in the Big Apple, now that he is gone, change could be beneficial for this team.

The 2008 Yankees will be younger than years past, and possibly may lose key veterens who made the late century dyansty possible; Jorge Posasa and Mariano Rivera to name a few (both free agents).

At least there is no question that Girardi is confident in himself, considering he chose to wear the number 27 – one more than the 26 World Series titles they already own.

The bottom-line is this: if Girardi can handle himself half as well as Torre did in the clubhouse and in the spotlight that is New York City, he did well. However, my bottom-line is not the real life bottom-line. As we all know, the reality of the bottom-line is this: Win, and win NOW! Torre felt the unwarranted wrath of George Steinbrenner throughout his career, and now Girardi will most likely feel it from Hank Steinbrenner.

George Steinbrenner’s tactics may have had method behind it’s madness, but to say he treated Torre fairly in his time here is simply untrue.

When thinking about the four World Series teams the Yankees fielded under Torre, the first word that comes to mind is: class. For an organization to run with class, it begins at the top. Torre had class – a rare find in today’s world of sports. With class, comes respect from others, and it is safe to say he has won mine.

Farewell Joe. Here is one Yankees fan that appreciates what you have done.


About Jason Braff