The Baseball Hall of Fame announced Monday morning that former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre was one of their three new members, along with former Braves manager Bobby Cox and former A’s and Cardinals manager Tony La Russa in being unanimously elected by the Veteran's Committee.
“It hits you like a sledgehammer,” Torre said after being elected. “I can’t tell you how excited I am, and then what makes it even better is to go in with these two guys.”
Longtime Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was also on the ballot, which featured candidates whose greatest contributions came from 1973 through the present, however he received only six votes from a 16-person panel. Much like the traditional Hall of Fame voting, 75 percent, or 12 votes, was needed to secure enshrinement.
Torre won four World Series titles and six pennants – all with the Yankees – during his 29-year managerial career. , and guided the Yankees to titles in 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000.
Prior to heading to New York in 1996, Torre was far from a Hall of Fame manager, sporting an 894 - 1,003 record in stints with the New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, and St. Louis Cardinals. His arrival as Buck Showalter's replacement was so stunning that the Daily News referred to him as "Clueless Joe."
During his dozen years in the Bronx, Torre proved his critics wrong time and again. Torre led the Yankees to four World Series titles, six American League pennants, and ten division titles while making the playoffs in every season. Torre took a group of core young players, including Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera, and turned them into champions. Because of that, Torre was considered by many to be a lock for enshrinement in the Hall of Fame, a notion he did not share.
"People said, 'Oh don't worry about it,'" Torre said in a press conference. "Well that's what they said when I was up 3-0 against the Red Sox."
Torre, now 73 years old, ended a 29-year managerial career in 2010 with a career 2,326 – 1,997 record (.538 winning percentage) and the four World Series titles he brought to the Big Apple.