Within the Yankees fan base, opinions of Joe Torre have changed in the past few years. He didn’t leave the organization on good terms, then he co-wrote the book and now he’s seen in some corners as a traitor.
But for the players most closely associated with him, Torre seems to be the same. Before last night’s game, Derek Jeter said he had already talked to Torre once that day. Of course, as he always does, Jeter called his old manager Mr. Torre.
“I was 21 when I came up,” Jeter said. “It’s out of respect. Not saying I don’t have respect for you guys if I don’t call you mister, (but) he’s been like a father figure to me. It’s just out of respect.”
What do the Core Four and Torre’s replacement remember about him?
“The way he treated me. Not only me getting a chance to play. Obviously I’m going to thank him forever, and the organization, but the way he treated me was really special. I will always remember that.”
“He’s like a father figure. He was not only my manager, he was just somebody that you could talk to. Not about baseball, just talk to him about life. At a very young age he was always there. You all know how much he supported me, through the good times and the bad times. When I struggled, he stood for me. They wanted to trade me, and he put his neck on the line for me. That obviously means an awful lot to me.”
“Joe was more than a friend. He was a mentor. I would say, a guy that always was there, giving me the best advice that he can give. Always supporting me. I remember 97, my first year as a closer. I was struggling a little bit in the beginning. He said, ‘Don’t worry about what you do. As long as I’m here, you will be my closer.’”
“I learned a lot from the way he handles people, the way he deals with people. I’ve said it before about, people always say you treat everyone the same. You don’t treat everyone the same. You treat everyone fairly. I think he was pretty good at that.”
“I was his bench coach and he allowed me to do a lot of things as a bench coach. He allowed me to manage the game and make whatever suggestion I wanted. For that I’m forever grateful. It was his job to decide how many good ideas I had, but there were open lines of communication and he allowed me to say whatever I was thinking. It was great.”
Here’s the audio from Jeter.
And from Rivera.
Associated Press photo