Profile: 9 x All Star, Gold Glove Winner – 1965, NL MVP 1971, 2 x AL Manager of the Year, 4 x World Series Champion, consummate pro, MLB Executive VP of Baseball Operations, founder of Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation
Game Changer on the field:
Joe Torre is a baseball lifer. He was an exceptional player: he played catcher for the Braves, Cardinals and Mets in the 60′s and 70′s. He played baseball’s toughest, most cerebral position at the highest level for 18 seasons, mixing in a little time at 1B and 3B. He hit an impressive .297 for his career and hit 252 HR’s. That’s a nice career right there. And then he started managing…after solid but not spectacular tenures as manager of the Mets, Braves and Cardinals respectively, Torre was hired to manage the New York Yankees in 1996. After game 1 of the ’96 World Series in which the Yankees got handled by the Braves, Torre calmly told the ‘Boss‘, George Steinbrenner that he thought they would also lose game 2 of the series in New York but go down to Atlanta and sweep three games before coming back to New York to seal the deal. From there, the rest is history: Four World Series championships, six AL pennants and a perfect 12 for 12 in playoff appearances. Most notably, Joe Torre was the calming influence on a franchise that had been in relative turmoil for several years. Torre was famously good at managing his players, the media and perhaps most importantly, his relationship with Yankees’ ‘Boss’. It was a thing of beauty – the Yankees tore MLB apart during their run between ’96 and ’00. They weren’t good, they were all-time great. And Joe Torre was the man leading the team. Leading calmly.
Game Changer off the field:
The Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation was started in 2002. The foundation’s mission is “educating to end the cycle of domestic violence and save lives”.
Joe Torre went public about his experience with domestic violence for the first time in his 1998 book Chasing the Dream: My Lifelong Journey to the World Series. Mr. Torre writes about his father’s anger and erratic behavior that left his family constantly on edge, and often scared for their own safety. He gives a heartfelt explanation of his motivations on the foundation site.
The signature initiative of the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation is Margaret’s Place. Named in tribute to Torre’s mother, Margaret’s Place provides a “safe room” for kids to talk to peers and a professional counselor. The primary objective is to let kids know they are not alone, and that help is available. Initially Margaret’s Place was established in ten New York area schools. In 2010, the program expanded to the West coast.
The Safe at Home Foundation also holds a gala in New York City. The 9th annual event is coming up on November 21. A good number of Yankees players support the foundation and the gala in particular.
In a recent interview, Mr. Torre thanked former players and baseball friends for supporting his foundation’s work. A literal testimony of the impact that pro athletes can have in their communities.
A terrific way to support the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation is to purchase one of their key chains, made by Carolee. All proceeds benefit the foundation and the key chain itself is beautifully made.
I can only imagine the level of personal fear and insecurity Mr. Torre overcame in order to build the courage to speak out on this very difficult issue. It’s never easy to dig up emotional wounds, let alone become a very public advocate on a sensitive social issue.
Mr. Torre is a class act and I’m so inspired by his efforts. I’m excited to follow his foundation’s efforts and so glad he continues to work in baseball.