Time for Joe Torre to go into the Braves Hall of Fame

Bill Shanks

It’s time for Joe Torre to enter the Braves Hall of Fame.

Yes, Joe Torre. The same Joe Torre who was the baseball executive that said the umpires in 2012 made the right call on the outfield fly rule in Atlanta’s playoff game with the Cardinals.

Who cares, really. That shouldn’t matter compared to the contributions Torre made for nine years as a player and three seasons as a manager for the Braves organization.

Sure, he’s in Baseball’s Hall of Fame for his work as the Yankees manager, and he should be. But this would be about what he did in a Braves uniform as a player and a manager.

When the Braves came to Atlanta in 1966, Torre was already a three-time All-Star catcher for the Milwaukee Braves. In his first five seasons in the big leagues, Torre had a .296 batting average and averaged 15 home runs and 66 runs batted in.

Then when Torre got to Atlanta, he had a tremendous season in the Braves first year in the south. Torre hit .315 with a .382 on base percentage, 36 home runs and 101 runs batted in. He was an All-Star that season and in 1967, when he hit 20 home runs and drove in 68.

The Braves then traded him to St. Louis for Orlando Cepeda before the 1969 season. Torre won the National League MVP award in 1971 after a great season for the Cardinals.

For the Braves first three seasons in Atlanta, Torre was the main catcher. You couple that with what he did in Milwaukee as a player, and that alone makes his resume impressive.

That’s not all, however. When Bobby Cox was fired after the 1981 season, team owner Ted Turner hired Torre, who had just been fired as the manager of the New York Mets. In Torre’s first season as Atlanta’s manager, the Braves won 89 games and the National League West title. They finished second in 1983 and third in the division in 1984.

Torre was manager when the Braves became America’s Team, when they were on WTBS and boomed all over the country on Turner’s SuperStation. He was very popular and had great success, but Turner listened to his baseball people who wanted Eddie Haas in as manager.

That was a disaster. Six years later, Torre got another chance to manage when he joined another one of his former teams as a player. He managed the Cardinals for parts of six seasons. Then he went back home to New York, and we all know what happened when Torre managed the Yankees.

But Torre’s start was with the Braves. He was a five-time All-Star with the Braves in Milwaukee and Atlanta, and then led the Braves in a very fun time as manager in the early-1980s. He deserves to be recognized by the Braves organization.

Listen to The Bill Shanks Show weekdays at 3:00 p.m. ET on Middle Georgia’s ESPN. You can listen online at TheSuperStations.com. Follow Bill on Twitter at @billshanks and you can email him at thebillshanksshow@yahoo.com.

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Scott Kennedy
Scott Kennedy

Took the Braves a decade to recover from firing Joe Torre