To me, one of the iconic Yankee greats will always be Joe Torre. It is under his leadership that I fell in love with the Yankees and learned to appreciate their history and legacy and amazingness. I cannot think back to my later growing up years, watching the Yankees win championship after championship after championship after championship, without thinking of Mr. Torre. They are forever intertwined in my memories.
So, it was no surprise on the year Torre is elected to the Hall of Fame that the Yankees continue to honor the legacy of the man who was the most successful team manager in recent history (at least in my lifetime) by selecting today to memorialize him in Monument Park and retire his #6 alongside other legends like Rivera, Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, Maris, and Berra. Showing up today to honor him included an All-Star lineup of both Yankee fame and Yankee rivals — players David Cone, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, Tino Martinez, Paul O’Neill, Hideki Matsui, and Bernie Williams; coaches Willie Randolph, Ron Guidry, Lee Mazzilli, and Jose Cardenal; and rival managers Jim Leyland and (recent Cooperstown inductee himself) Tony La Russa. Current manager Joe Girardi presented Torre’s plaque to him, and Derek Jeter (the only guy in full pinstripes on the field prior to the game) made sure to give his first MLB manager a big hug. Torre returned the sentiment and noted that with his retired number there was only one more single digit left from Monument Park… for now.
(Torre talking about his experiences today with the YES Network broadcasters during the game is very worth the link.)
And then the Yankees played the White Sox, led by Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda threw 101 pitches over his 6 innings, giving Chicago 5 hits, 2 runs, and 2 walks, and striking out 6. The White Sox struck first in the 2nd inning, with back-to-back doubles that led to an easy run scored. Chicago’s second run scored was an RBI single in the 5th inning.
On the other side of things, that pesky run the White Sox got in the 2nd was quickly regained in the bottom of that inning by the Yankees. With no outs and the bases loaded, a ground out scored a run to tie up the game. And in the 4th inning, the Yankees just pounced. McCann led off with a double; he and a walked Beltran scored on Martin Prado’s double. As Kuroda left the mound in the middle of the 6th inning, the score was 3-2 Yankees.
But that really wasn’t enough cushion for a win for them (and can we call the bottom of the 6th inning the “challenged inning”?). Carlos Beltran led off with a solo home run (that was rightly upheld after a review). And then Prado hit a double — originally ruled an out, challenged by the Yankees, overturned at MLB HQ, and ended up a double. Prado moved to 3rd on Headley’s ground out and then scored on Stephen Drew’s sacrifice fly.
It was now 5-2 Yankees.
Shawn Kelley took the 7th inning and struggled some only getting 2 outs, allowing an RBI groundout to push the score to 5-3 Yankees. Failing to get that 3rd out of the inning, it was Betances to the rescue; 4 pitches and they’re out of the inning. (Can we all just agree that a 6’8″ pitcher would make a great new superhero? I claim rights Marvel/DC/other comics I don’t know because I’m not a 14-year-old boy.) Warren’s quick 8th inning set up Robertson’s 34th save with a quick 15-pitch 9th inning.
The Yankees handed in a win on Joe Torre Day. And as happy as I am that coincides, I never need a reason to be happy for a win. I mean, who doesn’t like winning?
I guess it was reminiscent of Yankee days under Torre’s leadership. In that case, how about the next 36 games are played for him so they can head into October with the zeal and confidence of that late 1990s dynasty team. I miss those days sometimes, and today might be just what I needed to remember all those good things. Sometimes you just need to “remember when” so you can “hope for whatever”… a little faith, a little hope, but a whole lot of love. Because if you know me at all, that’s about right for me and that’s about right for my boys. And the memories of Joe’s Boys.