Editor’s Note: As part of WFAN’s 30th anniversary celebration, from May 1-12, we asked you to vote on the best local sports figures over the past 30 years. Over the course of two weeks, we are revealing the top-10 vote getters.
NEW YORK (WFAN) — Joe Torre was by no means the popular choice when owner George Steinbrenner hired him as manager of the Yankees prior to the 1996 season.
But he certainly turned out to be the right choice, and then some.
Known by some in the media as “Clueless Joe” due to his lack of success during previous managerial stints with the crosstown Mets and two other National League clubs, Torre found instant success on the junior circuit with the Yankees, guiding his new club to their first World Series title in 18 years in his debut season.
It turns out, he was just getting warmed up.
Torre went on to win three more championships — 1998, 1999, 2000 — and also guided the Bombers to the Fall Classic in 2001 and 2003.
Not bad for someone who had never sniffed a World Series in 18 years as a player and another 15 as a manager before landing in the Bronx.
Torre, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as a manager in 2014, concluded his 12-year run with the Yankees with a regular season record of 1,173-767. Among those who managed the Bombers for more than two seasons, Torre’s .605 winning percentage trails only legends Joe McCarthy (.627) and Casey Stengel (.623).
Torre’s win total in the Yankees’ dugout is second only to McCarthy, who finished with 1,460, but also managed four more seasons.