Former New York Yankees manager recounts career

Joe Torre goes over what it was like managing a major league baseball team Wednesday evening at a discussion sponsored by the Smithsonian Associates at Lisner Auditorium. Joining Torre for the conversation were (left to right) Mike Wise of the Washington Post, Johnny Holliday from Nats Xtraand Phil Wood of the Washington Examiner. Shannon Brown | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Spencer Fogel.

For two hours Wednesday night, former New York Yankees manager Joe Torre was back in pinstripes.

Instead of adorning the Yankees’ iconic home uniforms, the pinstripes patterned Torre’s suit as he reminisced at Lisner Auditorium about his career leading the team to six American League pennants and four World Series championships.

The success, Torre said, was bolstered by the team’s late owner George Steinbrenner’s deep pockets, as the team’s high payroll ensured that Torre “couldn’t make any excuses” for not managing a winning team.

Torre also told the crowd of 1,500 attendees that after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks – which he called “the scariest moment of my life” – the Yankees took on a different mindset. He said the players realized that they then represented all of New York City – not just Yankees fans – as the team played in the postseason that year.

“The ‘NY’ on our caps represented more than the Yankees,” Torre, who managed the team from 1996 to 2007, said.

Torre recounted that emotions ran high when players and relatives of 9/11 victims came together off the field. He joined shortstop Derek Jeter and outfielder Bernie Williams at the New York City Armory to comfort families and said he was moved when Williams walked up to a woman and said, “I don’t know what to say, but you look like you need a hug.”

The former Yankees skipper also discussed on-the-field strategy. When asked what situation he would “redo” if given the chance, Torre pointed to a controversial moment in the 2007 American League Division Series. Torre said he would have asked the umpires to stop the game as insects swarmed Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain, who threw two wild pitches because of the bizarre obstacle that cost the team the game.

After managing the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2008 to 2010, Torre stepped from an executive position in the Major League Baseball commissioner’s office to pursue a bid to buy the Dodgers.

Torre fielded no questions about his potential involvement in a plan to be co-owner the team.

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