When Joe Torre was named Yankee manager in 1995, the news was not greeted with universal applause. Indeed, this very paper ran a headline calling him "Clueless Joe." Long ago, we learned how very wrong we were. And now, in this autumn, as Major League Baseball 2007 moves on without the Yankees, we can only look back upon the season, and each of the dozen in which Joe Torre has led the Bronx Bombers, and say: Thank you. You did good, Mr. Torre, real good.
After the Yanks' heart-wrenching loss to the Indians, George Steinbrenner walked in silence to his waiting car. But, as we all know, silence speaks volumes. Particularly after what The Boss said out loud, with the Yanks down 2-0 this week, about Mr. Torre: "His job is on the line. I think we're paying him a lot of money. He's the highest-paid manager in baseball, so I don't think we'd take him back if we don't win this series."
Let's put it this way: George has not always been the soul of graciousness. But now George must rise to the occasion.
For, more than anyone else, Mr. Steinbrenner owes Joe Torre. It was Mr. Torre's coming that turned everything around for what is now the world's most valuable sports franchise. Mr. Torre accomplished it all by molding ever-changing collections of elephantine-egoed, quirkster personalities into a cohesive clubhouse - no small task when he was also confronting the madness of King George.
No, Joe Torre was never Clueless. Whatever Mr. Steinbrenner decides, Mr. Torre was, and will be, Mr. Class.
- Daily News (New York)