Dan Pace takes a look at another one of the greatest catchers in Braves history, Joe Torre. Read on for the story of the man before his Yankee greatness."> Dan Pace takes a look at another one of the greatest catchers in Braves history, Joe Torre. Read on for the story of the man before his Yankee greatness.">

Great Braves Through The Ages: Joe Torre

In his latest <I>"Great Braves Through The Ages"</I> Dan Pace takes a look at another one of the greatest catchers in Braves history, <B>Joe Torre</B>. Read on for the story of the man before his Yankee greatness.

Coming off a career season it looks like Javy Lopez's playing days with the Braves could be over. Some consider Javy the "greatest catcher in Braves history" but there are a few other guys who may deserve that title. Last week I made the case for catcher Del Crandall. This week we'll take a look at former Brave and current skipper of the Yankees Joe Torre.

Joseph Paul Torre was born in Brooklyn, New York on July 18th 1940. The Braves signed Joe as a amatuer free agent in 1960. Joe's brother first baseman Frank Torre was already a member of the Braves and was part of the 1957 world championship team.

Joe made his major league debut on September 25th 1960. In his first career at bat Joe came up as a pitch hitter to face Harvey Haddix and got his first major league hit (a single). Joe would end the season 1 for 2 (.500).

In 1961 Frank Torre was gone but Joe found himself starting catcher with gold glover Del Crandall injured most of the season. In 113 games Joe hit .278 with 21 doubles, 4 triples, 10 home runs, 42 rbi and scored 40 times. Joe came in second in the National League rookie of the year voting behind future Cubs superstar Billy Williams.

In 1962 Del Crandall returned to the Braves lineup which took some playing time away from Joe. In 80 games Torre had only 8 doubles, 1 triple, 5 home runs, 26 rbi and 23 runs scored while hitting .282. In 1963 Crandall was traded away and the starting catching job belonged to Torre. Joe hit .293 with 19 doubles, 4 triples, 14 home runs, 71 rbi and scored 57 runs. Torre was also named to his first all star team. In 1964 Joe continued to get better hitting .321 with 36 doubles, 5 triples, 20 home runs, scoring 87 times and driving in a whopping 109 rbi. Torre was once again a member of the National League all star team.

In 1965 Joe continued to hit well, in 523 at bats Torre hit .291 with 21 doubles, 1 triple, 27 home runs, scored 68 times and drove in 80 rbi. Selected once again to the all star team Joe was also voted the 1965 National league Gold Glove winner for catching.

In 1966 the Braves moved to Atlanta and Joe took advantage of Fulton County Stadium where the ball just seemed to jump off the bat. With 20 doubles, 3 triples, 36 home runs, 83 runs scored and 101 rbi while htting .315 Joe was voted to his fourth straight all star team. In 1967 Joe's numbers dipped quite a bit. Hitting .277 he collected only 18 doubles, 1 triple, 20 home runs, 68 rbi and scored 67 runs. Despite the off year Joe was voted to his fifth all star team in as many years.

1968 would be Torre's last season with the Braves. After having another off season where he hit .271 with 11 doubles, 2 triples, 10 home runs and 55 rbi while scoring 45 runs the Braves traded Joe to the Cardinals for Orlando Cepeda.

With the Cardinals Joe continued to catch but also played first and third base. In 6 seasons with the Cardinals Joe would win the NL mvp in 1971 and the NL batting championship the same season. He was also named to 4 all star teams with the Cards. After the 1974 season Joe was traded to the New York Mets where he became the player/manager on May 31st 1977. On June 18th 1977 Joe retired as a player but continued to manage tjhe Mets for 5 seasons. He left the Mets with 286 wins and 420 losses.

After the 1981 season the Braves fired manager Bobby Cox. After Cox left Braves owner Ted Turner said "I want a manager like Cox but not Cox". The two finalists for the Braves manager job came down between Dick Williams and Torre. Joe got the job and led the Braves to the 1982 NL west divison championship. The Braves would face another of Joe's former teams in the playoffs in the Cardinals. It would be the Braves first post season appearance since 1969. The Cards beat the Braves three games to none to take the NL pennant. The next two seasons the Braves finished second and third in the division and Torre was fired leaving Atlanta with a 257 and 229 record.

Joe spent the next 6 seasons as a broadcaster for ESPN before being hired by the Cardinals prior the 1990 season. In six seasons Joe never lead the Cardinals past second in the division leaving them after the 1995 season with a 351 and 354 record. Joe had now managed every team he had played for in his career.

Prior to the 1996 season Joe was hired by the Yankees and the rest is history. Since hiring Joe as skipper the Yankees have won 4 World Series including 2 against the Braves and 6 AL pennants.

Joe Torre career Braves hitting stats

Games: 1,037
At Bats: 3,700
Hits: 1,087
Doubles: 154
Triples: 21
Home Runs: 142
Rbi: 546
Runs: 470
Average: .294

Joe Torre career hitting stats:
Games: 2,209
At Bats: 7,874
Hits: 2,342
Doubles: 344
Triples: 59
Home Runs: 252
Rbi: 1,185
Runs: 996
Average: .297

Awards with Braves
1965 NL gold glove for catchers
1963 All star
1964 All star
1965 All star
1966 All star
1967 All star

Other awards
1971 NL mvp
1970 All star
1971 All star
1972 All star
1973 All star

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