Sunday, April 19, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Torre, Cox and La Russa manage their way into Hall

Joe Torre, Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JULY 26-27 - FILE - In this Dec. 9, 2013 file photo, retired managers, from left, Tony La Russa, Joe Torre and Bobby Cox gather for a photo after it was announced that they were unanimously elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, at a news conference during MLB winter meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Induction ceremonies are Sunday, July 27, 2014, in Cooperstown, N.Y. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

By
From page B4 | July 27, 2014 |

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Joe Torre still needs a pinch or two, just to make sure.

“It’s still sort of unbelievable,” he said. “Cooperstown was always something way out there. OK, I know where it is. Doesn’t mean I’m going there to visit, much less be inducted. I never had a goal of getting to the Hall of Fame.”

That’s exactly where he’s headed Sunday.

Torre will be inducted with fellow former managers Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa in what is a banner year for the baseball shrine. Pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine and slugger Frank Thomas also will enter.

Torre, La Russa, and Cox were unanimously elected in December by the Hall’s Expansion Era committee.

It was a tense time for Torre.

“I sort of was torn emotionally with the fact that Bobby and Tony were on the ballot,” he said. “I remember having dinner with Tony the night before the announcement. Whoever gets in, if the other one doesn’t get in, it’s sort of going to feel unfair. Our three careers just really mirrored each other.”

“When the three of us got in, I think it just made it that much sweeter. It was probably the first time we stopped lying to each other,” he said.

There’s always been a mutual admiration among La Russa, Cox and Torre, contemporaries who rank third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in all-time managerial wins.

“I always felt like Joe was the best at teaching a team the right way to win and lose,” said La Russa, who compiled 2,728 wins in 33 seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Oakland and St. Louis, behind only Connie Mack (3,731) and John McGraw (2,763). “A loss, they never made excuses. Just got beat.”

“But they won. They won a lot, and they never showed up the other side,” La Russa said. “They never embarrassed you because they beat you, and I can’t say the same for other teams and other managers.”

While Torre excelled as a player — in 1971 he won National League MVP honors with a signature season that included 230 hits and a .363 average, 97 runs, and 137 RBIs for the Cardinals — he became something special in the New York Yankees’ dugout. Despite mediocre stints managing the New York Mets, Atlanta and the Cardinals (five winning seasons in 15 years), Torre was hired by the Yankees prior to the 1996 season.

“That was a good sign for me, trust me,” said Torre, the only man to amass more than 2,000 hits (2,342) as a player and win more than 2,000 games (2,326) as a manager, according to STATS.

“After you’ve been fired three times and then you get hired by the Yankees, that was a good sign. I figured it was all said and done by that point in time,” he said.

Ever the diplomat, Torre somehow managed to assuage the most demanding of owners in George Steinbrenner, maintaining his coolness amid all the Bronx craziness while keeping all those egos in check. The result: 10 division titles, six AL pennants and four World Series triumphs in 12 years as he helped restore the luster to baseball’s most successful franchise.

Heady territory for a guy who never played in the Fall Classic.

“It was magical. I never took it for granted,” said Torre, who today serves as Major League Baseball’s executive vice president for baseball operations. “I just think it’s so important to respect this game, just the fact that you can leave your mark and possibly wind up in a place like this, even though that’s not why you play the game. It’s just been an amazing ride for me.”

La Russa’s teams finished first 12 times and won six pennants, and he was picked as Manager of the Year four times, finishing second in the voting five other times. He went to the World Series three straight years from 1988-90 and also lost in the 2004 World Series when his Cardinals were swept by the Boston Red Sox.

That La Russa found success in the dugout and not as a player is not a surprise. He made his big league debut as a teenage infielder with the 1963 Kansas City Athletics and appeared in just 132 games over six seasons, hitting .199 with no home runs and seven RBIs.

“How lousy I was, I was hoping the guy wouldn’t call me in to play. That’s the truth,” La Russa said. “Then I got to thinking, I can’t make a living, so I went to law school.”

La Russa tried to finance his way through law school as a player-coach in the White Sox organization, and quickly learned there was a lot more to managing than simply making out a lineup card. That allowed La Russa the opportunity to question and second-guess and it all “got my fires going.”

After graduation, La Russa decided to see if he could manage in the minors to get the bug out, with the ultimate goal of becoming a lawyer. The White Sox gave him Double-A and Triple-A assignments, and he was hooked, becoming a devoted student of the game.

In 1983, he managed the White Sox to their first postseason berth in 24 years, and 13 years later he rewarded new Cardinals owners with a division title in his first season in St. Louis (1996). That ended the franchise’s nine-year postseason slump, and they made it to the playoffs nine times in 16 seasons overall.

La Russa also had 70 postseason victories, trailing only Torre’s 84, and he and his role model, Sparky Anderson, are the only managers to win the World Series in both leagues. La Russa credits early conversations with Anderson, Paul Richards, Earl Weaver, Chuck Tanner, Gene Michael, and Billy Martin for much of his success.

“We watched all these masters,” La Russa said. “We would study the managers, and there was this one guy in Toronto that after the second series we played against him we agreed, ‘Hey, this guy is as good as any of them.’ His name was Bobby Cox.”

The fiery Cox — he was ejected a major league record 161 times — guided the Braves to an unprecedented 14 straight division titles and 15 playoff appearances. Many of those wins came with Maddux and Glavine on the mound for him.

When Cox, who also spent four years in Toronto, retired after the 2010 season he was the fourth-winningest manager with 2,504 victories in 29 seasons.

To be sure, induction day will be one to remember.

“The entire thing can never happen again in a million years, I don’t think,” Cox said. “A manager being able to go in with two of the greatest pitchers in the history of baseball, and then going in with two fellow managers at the same time. I don’t think that’s ever, ever going to happen again.”

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Waiting game: Woman, toddler hope for kidney transplants

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Tiny twins call Heather House their 1st home

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

Solano ranks last in Bay Area for health

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
SID to consider water rate hikes

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1

California water saving mandate shrinks cuts for some cities

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: A1

 
Who is the Bay Area’s most popular athlete?

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
City announces Browns Valley Road closures

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3

Healthier Living program begins mid-May

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3

 
Bachelor party turns into community event

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Il Fiorello serves up chocolate desserts

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
When to throw in the towel on sickly plants

By Karen Metz | From Page: C4

Coping with seasonal allergies

By Emerita Brigino-Buenaventura, M.d | From Page: C4

 
Solano superhero back in school

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

Church hosts health, wellness fair

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Home, garden show offers something for everyone

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Weather for Sunday, April 19, 2015

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B6

 
2 nations at center of market drop

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7

Vanden robotics team ready to compete in world championships

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Fairfield hotel gets major renovation

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Teen victim of Dixon shooting dies

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A7

Land use, design, project synergy key to growth

By Brian Miller and Karl Dumas | From Page: B7

 
Fairfield police log: April 17, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: April 17, 2015

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

 
Commissary-Exchange pairing gains steam

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

Airmen with county ties complete training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

 
.

US / World

San Francisco marks anniversary of 1906 earthquake

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Time plus distance help some Oklahoma City victims move on

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Police: Officers kill man who charged at them near St. Louis

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Scarlett O’Hara outfit fetches $137,000 at auction

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Turin Shroud goes back on display for faithful and curious

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Caged puppies on car roof trigger dozens of 911 calls

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

French replica of revolutionary frigate sets sail for Boston

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Islamic State blamed for Afghan suicide bombing killing 35

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

Transportation projects should benefit all drivers

By Brian Thiemer | From Page: A8

 
Justice not served

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

Clinton should spruce up a bit

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Brown support of ag water ruffles feathers

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

 
Sound off for April 19, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

Talk about corruption

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: April 19, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in history: Sunday, April 19, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Is it possible for Methodists to agree to disagree on gay marriage?

By The Washington Post | From Page: C3 | Gallery

 
Vatican unexpectedly ends crackdown of US nun group

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

Horoscopes: April 19, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

 
Wife needs to decide if she can tolerate husband’s binge drinking

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Anna Kendrick has book of essays coming out in 2016

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Phil Klay, Leslie Jamison among PEN award nominees

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
.

Sports

Crawford, Heston lead Giants to win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Curry scores 34, Warriors beat Pelicans 106-99 in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Reddick’s 3-run homer sends A’s to 5-0 victory over Royals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Cal defense shines for a change at scripted spring game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Serena Williams gets a rare test from Giorgi but holds on

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Tom Watson: Next Masters might be his last

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Free agent center Wisniewski signs 1-year deal with Jaguars

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Pete Rose hired by Fox as special guest studio analyst

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Marcotte, Ryan win US cycling Criterium championships

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Independent league experiments with 3-ball walks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Merritt maintains edge through 3 rounds at RBC Heritage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Jones throws 2 TDs, wins challenge at Ohio State spring game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
As Spurs know, international players can impact NBA playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Rose scores 23, Bulls beat Bucks 103-91

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Harden has 24 points, Rockets beat Mavs 118-108 in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Pierce leads Wizards past Raptors in OT in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Hometown report: Little League baseball

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

Hometown report: Youth track

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

 
Kenseth content in car and not contemplating retirement

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

Logano leads flag-to-flag to win Xfinity race at Bristol

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
This date in sports history for April 19

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
.

Business

Using a prepaid card? Avoid getting socked with fees

By The Washington Post | From Page: B7

 
Recalls this week: blowers, bike hooks, mattresses, toys

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

This year’s fight for the tech industry: Patent trolls

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
IMS: US prescription drug spending jumped 13 percent in 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Fast-growing Asian aviation confronts safety challenges

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

 
USDA veterinarian: Bird flu outbreak could be ‘devastating’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12

 
.

Obituaries

Carole Anspach

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Frances Bayona Lozano

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Robert Larkin

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Barbara Medders

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Carrol “Carl” Gordon Parker

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
John Thompson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Allen Ellsworth Dolby Sr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Sterling Jenkins

By Nancy Green | From Page: A5

Dennis Burkhart von Ting

By Nancy Green | From Page: A5

 
.

Comics