New Hall of Fame inductee Joe Torre has been described as many things over his baseball career. Good team guy, MVP, Clueless Joe, and of course, the master when it came to pushing the right buttons during the New York Yankees’ most recent dynasty of the late 1990s and early 2000s. One word has always been the definition of Mr. Torre: class.
During his Hall of Fame induction speech yesterday in Cooperstown, N.Y., he thanks and acknowledged many people that helped him get to the Hall of Fame. Former teammates, team owners, baseball executives, coaches, and of course players. Many who tuned into the Midsummer Classic, were highly upset that MLB nor the station carrying the All-Star Game, Fox, acknowledged the recent loss of Hall of Famer, and the epitome of San Diego Padres’ baseball, Tony Gwynn.
Joe Torre has always done things on his terms, Whether it was being a part of the decision-making process that traded away future Hall of Famer Tom Seaver as a 36-year-old first time field manager with the New York Mets in 1977, reaching his first postseason while working for Ted Turner with the Atlanta Braves in 1982, or being shown the door by his former team, the St. Louis Cardinals in 1995, Torre always took failures in stride.
He, like Mr. Padre, epitomize what is good about the game of baseball. Torre doesn’t care that he works for Bud Selig, and it was Selig’s media machine that failed to acknowledge Tony Gwynn on one of the biggest stages in the sport during All-Star festivities. After all, Joe Torre worked and conquered the Boss, George Steinbrenner. Joe Torre, as he always has, did the RIGHT thing. He discussed attending Gwynn’s memorial service out in San Diego a couple weeks ago, and seeing Gwynn up on the big screen. Torre stated that Gwynn stated, not to his surprise at all, that “All he ever wanted to do what to play the game the right way.”
Thank you Mr. Torre, for recognizing what Tony Gwynn brought not only to the game, but to the millions of lives he touched with his approach to the great sport that is baseball. You sir, like Tony Gwynn, are what is right about the greatest American sport ever invented. Congratulations on your Hall of Fame induction, you are a class act, and this is a well-deserved honor. Thank you for doing what Major League Baseball and Fox didn’t or wouldn’t do: acknowledge the true greatness of Tony Gwynn.