Former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre has an eventual date with the Hall of Fame based on his four world championships. Torre, remembered fondly by fans of the Yankees, like me, had a very good career as a player, although it was not worthy of Cooperstown, in my opinion. Nevertheless, he was the National League Most Valuable Player in 1971 and strung together some excellent campaigns.
Here are some nuggets about Joe Torre as a player you might not know about:
The season Torre enjoyed in 1971 for the St. Louis Cardinals was exceptional. He led the National League in several categories, including batting average at .363. He had 230 base hits, which was 11 more than Ralph Garr. Torre accumulated 352 total bases, 21 more than runner-up Hank Aaron. His 137 runs batted in were 12 more than Willie Stargell collected. He failed to break into the top 10 in home runs, so Torre was not close to winning the Triple Crown that year.
2. Short Minors Stay
Joe played only two seasons in the minor leagues with the club he came up with, the Milwaukee Braves. He hit a robust .344 for Eu Claire in 1960 and then batted .342 for Louisville in 1961 in 27 games before the Braves brought him up for good when he was just 20 years old.
3. Run Producer
Five times Torre knocked in at least 100 runs, with his next best season besides his MVP year being the 109 he had with Milwaukee in 1964. His career high in home runs was the 36 he clobbered in 1966, the team's first year in Atlanta. Torre had 200 hits on one other occasion, in 1970 when he had 203. His highest batting average was his .363 in 1971, but he hit .325 in 1970 and .321 in 1964. He was a lifetime .297 batter, with 252 homers and 1,185 runs batted in.
As a catcher, Torre won a Gold Glove in 1964, but he also played 787 games over the course of his career at first base and another 515 at third base. He had a .990 fielding percentage in the 903 games in which he caught, but at first base he was even better, fielding at a .993 clip. At third, he was less effective, making 64 errors and fielding only .951.
5. Other Tidbits
Torre never played in the postseason. He was not fast, stealing just 23 bases, but he did have 59 triples. Torre missed only five games from 1969 through 1971. His production took a drastic dip when he went to the New York Mets in a 1974 trade, although he did hit .306 for the Mets in 1976. Joe retired after the 1977 campaign.
I have been a New York Yankee fan since the middle of the 1960s.
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