Joe Torre, a former player with the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the New York Mets, and a former manager with the Mets, Braves, Cardinals, Yankees and Dodgers, was inducted into Cooperstown on Sunday.
A video tribute featuring an interview with Torre's former teammate TimMcCarver led into a live introduction by Commissioner Bud Selig and Hall curator Jane Forbes Clark. In McCarver's interview, he referred to Torre as a "master diplomat, a master friend, and a master father figure."
He opened by saying, "Johnny Bench told me I have two minutes." He followed that up by ribbing fellow inductee Greg Maddux: "Mark these words. Greg Maddux has no pulse. Look how excited he is."
Torre mentioned the many greats in attendance from his playing days: "A lot of these [pitchers] back there prevented me from getting to the Hall of Fame as a player. Try hitting those guys." And one last memory from his playing days: "I did have one accomplishment when I was with the Mets as a player ... On July 21st I hit into four double plays in one game. I just wanted to make sure I shared the credit, because I could not have done it if Felix Milan had not hit four singles right in front of me."
On his career as a whole: "I'll cut to the chase: I'm here because of the New York Yankees." The 73-year-old was quick to pay homage to his mentors, especially his longtime coach Don Zimmer and his mid-career trade to the Cardinals and "Playing for a manager who probably had the most impact on what I did as a manager, Red Schoendienst." "Don Zimmer, aside from costing me a lot of money by introducing me to horse racing, eight years sitting next to me made me into the manager I turned into."
After the terrorist attacks on 9-11, Torre told his players, "the NY on our hat represents more than the Yankees."
On the famous flip by Jeter in the 2001 ALCS: "And yes, we do practice that play. There are people who don't believe that."
Torre on Cox and La Russa: "Our careers mirrored each other's. It would have been an injustice if we couldn't have enjoyed this together."
— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) July 27, 2014
Torre mentioned many of players, using several anecdotes from the Yankees teams of the 90s and 2000s. Perhaps the most notable was in reference to future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera. "I've always been a Sinatra fan, but after 12 years with Mariano Rivera, Metallica sounds pretty good to me."
He mentioned coaches Willie Randolph, Jose Cardenal, Lee Mazilli -- who were in the audience -- and also singled out his longtime pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre.
He made a concerted effort to thank the fans as well: "You have turned New York City into a small town for me."