The Yankee Years

The Yankee Years

by Joe Torre, Tom Verducci


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The definitive story of one of the greatest dynasties in baseball history, Joe Torre's New York Yankees.
When Joe Torre took over as manager of the Yankees in 1996, they had not won a World Series title in eighteen years. In that time seventeen others had tried to take the helm of America’s most famous baseball team. Each one was fired by George Steinbrenner. After twelve triumphant seasons—with twelve straight playoff appearances, six pennants, and four World Series titles—Torre left the Yankees as the most beloved manager in baseball. But dealing with players like Jason Giambi, A-Rod, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Roger Clemens, and Randy Johnson is what managing is all about. Here, for the first time, Joe Torre and Tom Verducci take readers inside the dugout, the clubhouse, and the front office, showing what it took to keep the Yankees on top of the baseball world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780767930420
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/09/2010
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 528
Sales rank: 183,031
Product dimensions: 8.08(w) x 5.28(h) x 1.12(d)

About the Author

Joe Torre played for the Braves, the Cardinals, and the Mets before managing all three teams. From 1996 to 2007, Torre managed the New York Yankees. He is currently the manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Tom Verducci is the senior baseball writer for Sports Illustrated and, and a baseball analyst for the MLB Network. He coauthored Joe Torre’s first book, Chasing the Dream, and has also published an anthology of his work from Sports Illustrated, titled Inside Baseball: The Best of Tom Verducci.

Read an Excerpt

Joe Torre was the fourth choice. The veteran manager was out of work in October of 1995, four months removed from the third firing of his managerial career, when an old friend from his days with the Mets, Arthur Richman, a public relations official and special adviser to Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, called him with a question. “Are you interested in managing the Yankees?” Torre made his interest known without hesitation. “Hell, yeah,” he said. Only 10 days earlier, Torre had interviewed for the general manager’s job with the Yankees, but he had no interest in such an aggravation-filled job at its $350,000 salary, a $150,000 cut from what he had been earning as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals be­fore they fired him in June. His brother Frank Torre did not think managing the Yankees was worth the hassle, either. After all, Stein­brenner had changed managers 21 times in his 23 seasons of own­ership, adding Buck Showalter to the bloody casualty list by running him out of town after Showalter refused to acquiesce to a shakeup of his coaching staff. It didn’t matter to Steinbrenner that the Yankees reached the playoffs for the first time in 14 years, even if it was as the first American League wild card team in a strike-shortened season. Showalter’s crimes in Steinbrenner’s book were blowing a two games to one lead in the best-of-five Division Series against the Seattle Mariners, and resisting the coaching changes. “Why do you want this job?” Frank Torre asked his brother. “It’s a no-lose situation for me,” Joe replied. “I need to find out if I can do this or not.” Richman also had recommended to Steinbrenner three man­agers with higher profiles and greater success than Torre: Sparky Anderson, Tony LaRussa and Davey Johnson. None of those choices panned out. Anderson retired, LaRussa took the managing job in St. Louis and Johnson, returning to his ballplaying roots, took the job in Baltimore. LaRussa and Johnson received far more lucrative con­tracts than what Steinbrenner wanted to pay his next manager. “I’ve got to admit, I was the last choice,” Torre said. “It didn’t hurt my feelings, because it was an opportunity to work and find out if I can really manage. I certainly was going to have the lumber.”
On Wednesday, November 1, Bob Watson, in his ninth day on the job as general manager after replacing Gene Michael, called Torre while Torre was driving to a golf course in Cincinnati. Watson summoned him to an interview in Tampa, Florida. That evening, Torre met with Steinbrenner, Watson, Michael, assistant general manager Brian Cashman and Joe Molloy, Steinbrenner’s son-in-law and a partner with the team. The next morning, Torre was intro­duced as the manager of the Yankees at a news conference in the Stadium Club of Yankee Stadium, standing in the same spot where Showalter had stood twelve months earlier as the 1994 AL Manager of the Year.
It was an inauspicious hiring in most every way. Steinbrenner did not bother to attend the introductory event of his new manager. The press grilled Torre. Not only had Torre been fired three times, but also he was 55 years old and brought with him a losing record (894-1,003), not one postseason series victory, and the ignominy of having spent more games over a lifetime of playing and managing without ever getting to the World Series than any other man in his­tory. Torre was a highly accomplished player, even a star player, for 18 seasons with the Braves, Cardinals and Mets. He was named to nine All-Star teams and won one Most Valuable Player Award, with the Cardinals in 1971.When he played his last game in 1977,Torre was one of only 29 players in baseball history to have amassed more than 2,300 hits and an OPS+ of 128 (a measurement of combined on-base and slugging percentages adjusted for league averages and ballpark effects, thus making era-to-era comparisons more equi­table). His career profile, however, was dimmed by never having played in the postseason.
Torre’s baseball acumen and leadership skills were so highly regarded that the Mets named him a player/manager at age 36 dur­ing the 1977 season. He ceased playing that same year, the first of his five years managing awful Mets teams. When the Mets fired him after the 1981 season, the Braves, owned by Ted Turner, quickly snapped him up. Torre immediately led the Braves to their first di­vision title in 13 years. He lasted only two more seasons with Turner’s Braves. Torre spent almost six years out of baseball, serv­ing as a broadcaster with the California Angels, until the Cardinals hired him to replace the popular Whitey Herzog in 1990. Those five seasons were the only seasons in which Torre did not play or manage in the major leagues since he broke in as a 20-year-old catcher in 1960 with the Milwaukee Braves, a team that also in­cluded Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews and Warren Spahn and Joe’s brother Frank.
One of Torre’s great strengths as a manager was that he under­stood what it was like to both star and struggle at the major league level. For instance, he hit .363 when he won the MVP Award in 1971, and 74 points lower the very next year. “And I tried just as hard both years,” he said. One day in 1975 with the Mets, Torre be­came the first player in National League history to ground into four double plays, each of them following a single by second baseman Felix Millan. He reacted to such infamy with humor. “I’d like to thank Felix Millan for making all of this possible,” he said.
At his introductory news conference, Torre displayed his cool demeanor and ease in front of a hostile media crowd. He answered questions with humor and optimism, and did not hesitate to talk about his lifetime goal of winning the World Series, something the Yankees had not done in 17 years, the longest drought for the fran­chise since it won its first in 1921. He knew Steinbrenner had grown restless.
“When you get married, do you think you’re always going to be smiling?” Torre said at the news conference. “I try to think of the potential for good things happening. That’s the World Series. I know here we’ll have the ability to improve the team . . . To have that opportunity is worth all the negative sides.”
All in all, Torre was not warmly received as the replacement for a popular young manager Steinbrenner had chased off after a playoff season. He was an admitted last choice for the job, and soon heard even after his hiring that Steinbrenner was working back channels to see if he could bring Showalter back. Critics regarded Torre as a recycled commodity without portfolio. Torre was in Cincinnati with in-laws on the day after his news conference when a friend from New York called him up.
“Uh, have you seen the back page of the Daily News?”
“No, why?”
The New York Daily News welcomed the hiring of Torre with a huge headline that said, “CLUELESS JOE.” The subhead read, “Torre Has No Idea What He’s Getting Himself Into.” It referenced a column written by Ian O’Connor in which O’Connor said that Torre “came across as naïve at best, desperate at worst.” Wrote O’Connor, “It’s always a sad occasion when man becomes muppet.” A last choice, a placeholder for Showalter, a man without a clue, a muppet . . . this is how Torre was welcomed as the new manager of the New York Yankees. None of it bothered him.
“It didn’t matter to me,” Torre said. “I was so tickled to have the opportunity that none of it mattered. I was a little nervous starting out with it. Every time you get fired there is always something you think you can do better. I started thinking, maybe I have to do this different or that different. And then one day before spring training began, I was thumbing through a book by Bill Parcells, the football coach. He said something like, ‘If you believe in something, stay with it.’ And that was enough for me.”
Under Torre’s recommendation, with input from Torre’s new bench coach, Don Zimmer,Watson’s first major player move was to acquire a strong defensive catcher to replace Mike Stanley, who was popular with Yankees fans for his hitting but was never known for his defense. On November 20, Watson traded relief pitcher Mike DeJean to the Colorado Rockies for Joe Girardi. It was the start of a frantic, sometimes curious 40-day period in which Watson, with assistance from Michael and, of course, Steinbrenner, assembled nearly a third of the 1996 roster, getting Girardi, first baseman Tino Martinez, reliever Jeff Nelson and outfielder Tim Raines in shrewd trades, signing second baseman Mariano Duncan and pitcher Kenny Rogers as free agents, and re-signing third baseman Wade Boggs and David Cone, their own free agent.
Actually, Cone’s signing had less to do with Watson but instead il­lustrated the sheer force and will Steinbrenner exerted over the baseball operations of the Yankees, who were the richest club in baseball but had yet to grow into the financial behemoth that would put them so far ahead of the 29 other franchises. In 1995, Steinbrenner spent $58.1 million on payroll, the most in baseball, but a somewhat reasonable 19 percent more than the second-biggest spender, the Baltimore Orioles. The 1996 Yankees would draw 2.2 million fans to Yankee Stadium, ranking them seventh among the 14 American League teams. Cone was set to re-sign with the Yankees until Watson called his agent, Steve Fehr, to suddenly reduce the terms of the deal. An angered Cone immediately entered into negotiations with the Ori­oles, negotiations that moved so quickly the Orioles began internal plans for an afternoon news conference to announce his signing. One small hangup remained, however. “I probably would have signed if it wasn’t for those guys in the front office haggling over deferred money at zero percent interest,” Cone said. “I’m telling you, when I talked to my financial guys they said it may be a couple hundred grand they were haggling over at that point. Not to piss on a couple hundred grand, but in the grand scope of things, a couple hundred grand shouldn’t hold things up.” While the Orioles were holding up the deal, Steinbrenner called Fehr from a pay phone at a hospital, where he was visiting an ill friend. He asked Fehr to put Cone on the line.
“I had been with the Yankees only since the middle of ’95,” Cone said, “and hadn’t had much workings with George. I just heard stories about how tough he was to deal with. He told me,‘We need you.We want you.’ He said all the right things and swayed me right back, because I was right on the fence. He said, ‘Everything we offered you is back on the table.’ He apologized, called it a mis­understanding. He kind of threw Bob Watson under the bus a little bit. He blamed him, which I think was Bob just doing his job. But my heart was in New York. I had an apartment in New York. It’s what I wanted.”
Cone agreed to a three-year contract worth $19.5 million. Steinbrenner completed the deal with a vision for the future.
“We want you not just for this deal,” Steinbrenner told Cone, “but for the rest of your career. Before your career is over with the Yankees, you’ll be pitching in a new ballpark on the West Side of Manhattan and I hope we’re drawing three million people a year.”
Even Steinbrenner had no idea just how big a brand the Yankees would become.
That Steinbrenner could cut a huge free-agent deal from a hos­pital pay phone at a moment’s notice spoke to his impact on the en­tire organizational culture. If he wanted something done, it was done. There was no haggling over deferred money with zero inter­est. Steinbrenner was himself one of the best closers in baseball, es­pecially when motivated by intense criticism that came about because of the breakup with Showalter, as well as whirlwind changes that swept out popular Yankees such as Stanley, Randy Ve­larde and Don Mattingly, who faded into retirement. Steinbrenner’s last-minute call from the pay phone, stealing Cone out from under the Orioles, the Yankees’ main competition in the AL East, was a key moment in the building of a dynasty. Cone would become the most respected leader of the Yankees’ four world championship teams under Torre. Cone was the glue, if not the very spirit, of the dynasty. In addition to being a ferocious competitor, Cone was a skilled, willful tactician in handling the New York media. His rap­port with the media allowed more quiet types, such as Bernie Williams and Paul O’Neill, the best hitters on the team, to play free of the media responsibilities that typically fall to front-line everyday players in New York.
“I kind of fell into that role in my career,” Cone said, “by watch­ing Keith Hernandez and some of the Mets the way they did it. I re­member watching Frank Cashen, the Mets general manager, talking in the dugout to reporters and going, ‘On background guys . . .’ and then talking on the record. You watched how they handled it and you could develop a little closer relationship with the writers. Those were the days when you could go out and have a beer with the writers after a game. It was a different animal.
“I think I was at least somebody my teammates with the Yankees knew wasn’t doing it for self-promoting purposes.That’s what I was always worried about: would it come across as self-promoting? That was a balancing act. I think going through the 1994—95 strike and being a de facto spokesman on the players’ side really helped a lot. I was trying to flip everything, reverse everything, and trying to be a stand-up guy. And going through the strike and finding myself on the Yankees the year after the strike, I knew all the writers at that point. I just kind of fell into it.”
On the first day of the 1996 spring training camp, Torre gathered his team for a meeting. Many of the players didn’t know him and he didn’t know many of the players. He looked around the room. Among the group were the veterans new to the team, such as Raines, Martinez, Nelson, Girardi, Duncan and Rogers; a 21-year­old rookie shortstop named Derek Jeter; returning outfielders Bernie Williams and Paul O’Neill, a guy people in the front office had warned him had a “selfish” streak; veteran pitchers Cone, Jimmy Key and John Wetteland; and young pitchers Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera. Torre’s coaches were Zimmer, Mel Stottle­myre, Willie Randolph, Chris Chambliss, Tony Cloninger and Jose Cardenal.
“All of my coaches have been to the World Series,” Torre told his team. “That’s what I want. But I don’t want to win just one. I want to win three of them in a row. I want to establish something here that’s special. I don’t want to sacrifice principles and players to do it one time. I want to establish a foundation to be the kind of ballclub that is going to be able to repeat.”
Dick Williams, the former big league manager who was work­ing with the Yankees as a special adviser, pulled Torre aside after the meeting and told him,“That was a hell of a meeting, one of the best I’ve ever seen.”
Said Cone, “I remember right off the bat that calming influence that he had, the way he conducted team meetings, the way he talked to people. You could sense that he was going to be a calming influence. He had a lot of experience. There was still a lot of spec­ulation at the beginning of spring training about Showalter, a lot of talk about George trying to bring him back. Maybe they were going to bump Joe upstairs and bring Showalter back. I remember the first couple of meetings showed how even-keeled and level he was.”
The Yankees were getting Torre at the perfect time in his life. It wasn’t just that his three managerial firings made him the made-to-order unflappable foil to Steinbrenner. “What’s the worst that can happen? I get fired again?” he would tell reporters. The timing was just right also because in between his hiring and the start of camp Torre unburdened himself of a dark family secret he had been carrying ever since he was a boy growing up in Brooklyn. Torre’s father, Joe Sr., was a New York City police detective who filled the family home with fear because of the physical and emo­tional abuse he brought upon his wife, Margaret. Joe, the youngest of five children, never was the direct target of such domestic vio­lence, though it shaped who he was. Torre hated confrontation and loathed loud voices and noises. He so feared his father that if Torre saw his father’s car parked outside the house when he came home from school, Torre would simply keep walking.
Torre suppressed those feelings and never spoke about his father’s domestic abuse. Then, in December of 1995, Torre’s wife, Ali, talked him into joining her at a Life Success seminar, a program designed to foster personal growth. Ali saw a guarded, aloof side to her husband. Each time she would say “We need to talk,” she saw how he would grow tense. Maybe, she thought, the seminar could be helpful. Torre figured he would go through the motions of showing up at some new-age, self-help lecture. By the time the seminar and activities were over, Torre had emotionally unbur­dened himself to total strangers about the abusive household of his childhood. As a big league manager, Torre always preferred operat­ing at low decibels, without confronting people. His method was to trust people and communicate in even, measured tones. But now his calm methodology was boosted by an inner peace that came from letting go of the dark family secret and understanding himself bet­ter. His personal confidence soared. His demeanor and optimism were exactly right for the 1996 Yankees, whose players returning from 1995 were pained by having blown the series to Seattle. They also had played under the tightly wound Showalter, who had played, coached and managed so long in the Yankees organization, where Steinbrenner’s divide-and-conquer style of leadership was designed to keep everyone uncomfortable, that trust did not come easily to him.

“They had a taste of the playoffs,” Torre said, “and I think they were grown up enough to know somebody has to make the deci­sions. Whether you like me or believe me, you have to understand that. They were at the point where they knew in order to win we have to work together. And somebody has to point us in that direction.”
Torre provided a complete contrast to Showalter’s micro-management style. He gave his coaches and players a wide berth. One word kept coming up over and over again in the application of his management philosophy: trust.
“What I try to do is treat everybody fairly,” Torre said.“It doesn’t mean I treat everybody the same. But everybody deserves a fair shake. That’s the only right thing to do. I’d rather be wrong trusting somebody than never trusting them.
“I’m of the belief that the game belongs to the players, and you have to facilitate that the best you can. I want them to use their natural ability. If they’re doing something wrong, you tell them, but I’d like it to be instructive, rather than robotic. The only thing I want them all to think about is what our goal is and what the at-bats are supposed to represent. And that simply is this: ‘What can I do to help us win a game?’ ”
Players quickly bought into Torre’s management-by-trust style, and they did so because its abiding principle was honesty.
“Honesty is important to me.Where does it come from? I don’t know, but even when I think back it was always something that was ingrained in me. Even now I may have trouble when I have to tell someone the truth if it’s not a pleasant thing, but I won’t lie to them. I can’t do that. The only way you can get commitment is through trust, and you’ve got to try to earn that trust.”
Torre applied the same principle to dealing with the media. His work as a broadcaster with the Angels and his gift for storytelling made him a naturally relaxed witness in front of the prosecutorial­leaning reporters and columnists in New York. He was informative without compromising his team. He was refreshingly honest.
“I may have misled the media, but I never knowingly lied to the media,” Torre said. “I may not have answered something directly or changed the subject and gone in a different direction, but I don’t re­member purposefully lying to somebody.
“I thought it was an important part of the job, the media being such a big part of what goes on in New York. I thought it was my obligation to communicate with them so they would have the in­formation right from me. So I thought it was something that there was no time limit on.
“My one point to the players was they were never going to read something that they haven’t heard from me, at least something sig­nificant. And that’s part of the trust I try to create.”
Before the 1996 spring training camp even began,Torre showed his trust in Cone by naming him his Opening Day pitcher. Jimmy Key, Andy Pettitte, Dwight Gooden and Kenny Rogers would take the spots behind him in the rotation. Unbeknownst to Torre, however, Cone was suffering from a mysterious tingling in his fingers. It started when Cone reported early for spring training and simply was playing catch.The tingling grew so progressively worse that the fingernail on his right ring finger turned blue. Cone said nothing about it.
On Opening Day in Cleveland, Cone threw the kind of game that practically defined his Yankees career. It emphasized his flirta­tious relationship with disaster, though somehow the two of them never actually met. He walked six Indians batters and none of them scored. In 38-degree weather, Cone threw seven shutout innings in a 7-1 win. As soon as he walked back into the clubhouse, he looked down at his right hand. It was ice cold and clammy, worse than it had been all spring. His entire right ring finger was blue. He ap­proached trainer Gene Monahan and said, “Something’s wrong with my hand.”
The Yankees sent him to Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital in New York for an angiogram.The head vascular surgeon, Dr. George Todd, was on vacation at the time.
“They couldn’t find anything,” Cone said, “so they put me on blood thinners and ran me back out there to pitch again, which in hindsight was probably not the right thing to do.”
The symptoms continued. When Todd returned from vacation and saw the angiogram, he feared something was wrong with Cone–probably an aneurysm, or a clot, somewhere in his circula­tory system, a potentially deadly problem depending on where it was located–and they needed to bring him back in for another angiogram.
“I pitched a complete game against the White Sox,” Cone said.“I was pitching great, leading the league in ERA. I couldn’t fig­ure it out. I was barely able to feel the ball. I guess I didn’t try to overthrow. I was just painting with everything and getting away with it.”
The angiogram was a grueling procedure. As Cone described it, it involved a catheter through the groin, massive painkillers and lying on his back on a steel table for hours. Cone, drugged, sore and tired, saw the doctors and nurses rush back into the room with smiles on their faces after studying the results of the angiogram. “We found the aneurysm!” they announced.
Said Cone, “I was like, ‘Fuck you. Don’t tell me that way!’ They were so happy because they found it. ‘You’ve got an aneurysm!’ I was drugged up, but that’s when I really got scared. I knew some­thing was wrong. I just thought it was something in my hand. I didn’t know it was up there.”
The aneurysm was found in the upper area of the arm, in the shoulder region. On May 11, in a three-hour surgery, doctors cut two arteries, removed the aneurysm, and took a piece of a vein from his thigh to patch the connection and restore blood flow. The Yankees were 20-14, in first place, but without their ace and leader. No one could be sure when or if Cone would be back that season.
Cone had thrown 147 pitches in his final game of the 1995 sea­son, the Yankees’ Game 5 loss at the Kingdome in Seattle against the Mariners. On his last pitch, he walked in the tying run. Cone was so tired and depressed after that game that he barely left his Manhattan apartment for days. His arm was so sore that even combing his hair was painful. Doctors could never draw a direct link between those 147 pitches and his aneurysm, but Cone was left to wonder about the possible connection.
“I don’t think there’s any way to know for sure because of the wear and tear,” he said. “It’s like a flat tire. When do you get it? But it had to have something to do with it, because I showed up the next spring and immediately had tingling in my fingers when I started throwing the ball again.”
The 1996 Yankees, though, were an extraordinary team precisely because their fate did not rest with any one player. Nobody on the team hit 30 home runs, collected 200 hits or stole 20 bases. The of­fense was below average, ranking ninth in the 14-team league. The pitching was good, though not spectacularly so. It ranked fifth in ERA.The Yankees never won or lost more than five games in a row. Their strengths were their resourcefulness, the ability to find any crack or crevice in any game or any opponent and exploit it, and a lockdown bullpen that made winning on the margins not nearly as risky as it appeared to be. Rivera and Wetteland typically could be counted on for the final nine outs with little trouble. The Yankees made the most of a mediocre offense to win 92 games. They hit .293 with runners in scoring position. They were 25-16 in one-run games. They were 70-3 when they led after six innings.
Resourcefulness, however, was an art form not fully appreciated by Steinbrenner. An aficionado of football, military history and in­timidation, Steinbrenner wanted to crush opponents, not just carve them up with singles and one-run wins. Even as the 1996 Yankees racked up many of those efficient victories, Steinbrenner would call up Torre to complain. Steinbrenner, however, could not bully this manager.
“I was so excited to be managing a club that had a chance to win that whatever he dealt out to me, I was in a great frame of mind with it,” Torre said.“We’d be winning games and he’d be semi-embarrassed because we’d win on a squeeze bunt or a base hit. He wanted to mutilate people.”
On Tuesday, June 18, Steinbrenner summoned Torre to his office at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees would win that day to im­prove their record to 39-28 and their first-place lead over the Ori­oles to 21⁄2 games. Steinbrenner, though, remained uncomfortable, particularly with the Yankees, racked by injuries to their pitching staff, leaving for a four-game series against the hard-hitting Indians (a team that would lead the league in wins with 99). Steinbrenner was concerned that Torre planned to use two rookie emergency starters pulled from the bullpen, Brian Boehringer and Ramiro Mendoza, in a doubleheader. The rookies were followed by two starters from the back of the rotation, Rogers and Gooden. Stein­brenner wondered if there was somebody else, anybody with expe­rience, who could pitch, even if it meant calling up someone from the minor leagues.
“I had no idea how we were going to win against Cleveland, with the pitchers we were sending to the mound,” Torre said. “But I told him everything was going to work out.”
Eventually Steinbrenner stopped roaring and said to Torre, “Fine, but it’s your ass that’s on the line.”
It was a scenario that would be repeated many times over in Torre’s years managing the Yankees. Steinbrenner was always ner­vous or anxious about something. Torre, banking on his optimism and his trust in his players, would soothe the restless, fearful Stein­brenner with some assurance that things would turn out just fine for his team. The calming influence that Cone and the players took note of from the first day of spring training was as vital a trait for Torre while dealing with Steinbrenner as it was while in the dugout and clubhouse dealing with his players. The lion would roar men­acingly and Torre calmly would stick his head into the animal’s mouth and come out smiling and unscathed. The Yankees won all four games in Cleveland, three of them by one or two runs.
“Well, you’re doing it with mirrors!” Steinbrenner barked at Torre.
“We’re playing solid baseball, Boss,” Torre said. “We stay in the game and our bullpen wins it for us. That’s the whole thing: we shorten the game. We turn it into a six-inning game with the guys we have coming out of the bullpen.”
The Yankees built a lead over the Orioles that grew to as large as 12 games on July 28, only to shrink to 21⁄2 games with 14 games to play after a 21-24 regression. The Yankees, though, held on with six wins in their next nine games while Baltimore stumbled. The winning pitcher in the clinching game was none other than Cone, who had come back in September from the aneurysm surgery.
The postseason became a 15-game version of their regular season. The Yankees capitalized on any opening and their bullpen was vir­tually unbeatable, losing only one game. The Texas Rangers had the Yankees six outs away from a two-games-to-none deficit in Game 2 of the best-of-five Division Series when the Yankees flashed their resourcefulness again. Bernie Williams began the eighth inning with a single, alertly moved to second on a deep fly ball, and scored on an opposite-field single by Cecil Fielder. They won in the 12th inning on a sacrifice bunt by Charlie Hayes, which third baseman Dean Palmer threw away, allowing Jeter to score from second base.
It wasn’t the kind of baseball Steinbrenner preferred, but it was smart, unselfish baseball and it was working. The Yankees’ fortu­itous play continued against Baltimore in the American League Championship Series, a series the Orioles might have led two games to none but for another strange eighth-inning comeback by the Yankees in Game 1. With the Yankees down to their last five outs, trailing 4-3, Jeter lofted a high fly ball to the right-field wall, where Orioles right fielder Tony Tarasco began to reach for it. Be­fore the ball could come down into Tarasco’s glove, however, a 12­year-old kid named Jeffrey Maier reached over the wall and deflected the baseball into the stands. Right-field umpire Rich Gar­cia ruled a home run. There could be no doubt about it now; the Yankees were getting help from above.The game was tied.The Yan­kees would win in the 11th inning on a home run by Williams. They also would win all three games in Baltimore, sending Torre to the first World Series in his life. Upon the final out, Torre broke down in tears in the dugout.
Disaster awaited Torre at the World Series. Playing for the first time in seven days, and against a red-hot and favored Atlanta Braves team, the Yankees were blown out in Game 1 at Yankee Stadium, 12-1. They were staring at Greg Maddux, the best pitcher in base­ball, in Game 2 when Steinbrenner walked into Torre’s office about 90 minutes before the game, fishing for some of that familiar Torre assurance.
“This is a must game,” Steinbrenner said.
Torre barely looked up at him.
“You should be prepared for us to lose again tonight,” he said nonchalantly. It was hardly the assurance Steinbrenner wanted. But then Torre continued: “But then we’re going to Atlanta. Atlanta’s my town.We’ll take three games there and win it back here on Sat­urday.”
Steinbrenner didn’t know what to say. Here was Torre saying the Yankees would lose again, but then sweep four straight games from the Braves and their all-time great rotation that included Maddux, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine? It was crazy talk. Sure enough, the Yankees lost to Maddux, 4-0. They had been outscored 16-1, the worst combined beating in the first two games in World Series history.
Steinbrenner grew more fearful. He worried about getting swept and being “embarrassed,” always one of his great worries. Steinbrenner was always talking about being “embarrassed.” He called up Torre in his office before Game 3 in Atlanta. “Let’s not get embarrassed,” a nervous Steinbrenner said.
“We’re fine,” Torre told him.
Not everyone felt that way. Mike Borzello, the bullpen catcher, remembers standing in the outfield during batting practice before Game 3 with Boggs and Martinez. All of them had the same thoughts as Steinbrenner.
“We were talking about how we just didn’t want to get swept,” Borzello said. “We were all saying, ‘We’ve got to get one, because it will be embarrassing to go four and out. But this team is so much better than we are.’ Really, that’s how we felt until the tide turned.”
Game 3, as well as the entire World Series, reached critical mass in the sixth inning when the Braves loaded the bases against Cone with one out, trailing the Yankees, 2-0. Fred McGriff, the Braves’ lefthanded slugging first baseman, was due up. Graeme Lloyd, a lefthanded reliever, was throwing in the Yankees’ bullpen. Torre walked to the mound, still not sure whether he would leave Cone in or replace him with Lloyd. The book move was to go lefty­on-lefty. Torre looked Cone squarely in the eye.
“This is very important,” Torre said. “I need the truth from you. How do you feel?”
“I’m okay,” Cone said. “I lost the feel for my slider a little bit there, but I’m okay. I’ll get this guy for you.”
But then Torre grabbed Cone and pulled him closer so that they were practically nose to nose.
“This game is very important,” Torre said. “I’ve got to know the truth, so don’t bullshit me.”
Said Cone, “I had anticipated what the questions were going to be. Basically,‘Hey, are you okay?’ ‘Yeah, I’m fine.’‘Okay, how are we going to go after this guy?’ He basically said, ‘No, that’s not good enough,’ and turned me around nose to nose. He said, ‘No, I need to know you’re okay,’ almost imploring me to tell the truth. He made eye contact with me and made me look him in the eye. He got closer and closer and grabbed me to pull me closer. He said two or three times, ‘No, I need to know you’re okay.’
“That’s the first time I heard a manager do anything like that, saying it that way. I was fine, as good as I was going to be for a guy who rushed back to the team from surgery. I was not fully all the way back at that point. But I always thought I could make a pitch, a splitter or something. It’s like playing golf where you think you can make a shot. Somehow, someway.”
Cone convinced Torre to leave him in the game. He made a pitch to McGriff, who popped it up. Cone then walked Ryan Klesko, forcing in a run. “It was a borderline call,” Cone said, “but if you make a mistake there he can juice one.” Cone ended the inning by getting Javy Lopez on a pop-up, preserving a lead for the Yankees, who would go on to win, 5-2.
As important as Game 3 was, Game 4 would become the signature game for the 1996 Yankees. Down 6-0 in the sixth inning, Torre gathered his players in the dugout for an impromptu meeting and advised them,“Let’s cut it in half right here.Take small bites. Do the little things to get one run at a time. Let’s put a little pressure on them.”
No Yankees team ever had won a World Series game by coming from that far behind. Only one team ever overcame a bigger deficit in the World Series, Connie Mack’s 1929 Philadelphia Athletics. The Yankees immediately responded to Torre’s advice. They scored three runs with their first four batters of the inning, stitching to­gether three opposite-field singles and a walk for the quintessential ’96 Yankees rally.
The game-tying rally was more bombastic: a three-run home run by Jimmy Leyritz off Atlanta closer Mark Wohlers with one out in the eighth, a blast made possible when Wohlers made the mistake of throwing a hanging slider because Leyritz looked as if he were timing his 99 mph fastballs by fouling them off. The Yan­kees won, 8-6, in the 10th inning with the tie-breaking run scoring on a pinch-hit walk by Wade Boggs, the last position player left on Torre’s bench. Torre used seven pitchers, five pinch hitters and one pinch runner. He used every one of his players except three start­ing pitchers, Cone, Key and Pettitte. It was the fourth time in 13 postseason games that year that the Yankees won a game after star­ing at defeat from the close proximity of six or fewer outs away.
The series was tied at two games each, with the Yankees giving the ball to Pettitte in Game 5 and the Braves going to Smoltz.Torre had some difficult decisions to make with his lineup, the first of which he actually made immediately after Game 4. Torre told Leyritz he would catch Pettitte rather than Girardi, the defensive specialist.
“I said to Leyritz,‘You know what? I’m going to catch you with Pettitte tomorrow,’ ” Torre said. “ ‘And the only reason you’re catch­ing Pettitte is because you hit a three-run homer. I wasn’t going to catch you. So just make sure you do the right thing.’ Because he al­ways wanted to do things his way. He didn’t want to follow the game plan of how we were going to pitch people. But that was his personality. ‘The King.’ ”
Torre filled out the rest of his lineup when he arrived at the ballpark for Game 5. He chose to play Hayes instead of Boggs at third base–emphasizing the likelihood of groundballs there with the lefthanded Pettitte pitching–the hot-hitting Fielder instead of Martinez at first base, despite facing a righthander; and Raines in the outfield instead of O’Neill, who was limited by a sore ham­string. Torre called Boggs, Martinez and O’Neill into his office one-by-one to break the news to them they would not be starting.
“Boggs was disappointed,” Torre said, “Tino was the only one where you could see the anger, and Paulie just looked resigned. He was down. He walked out with his head down and his shoulders slouched.”
As O’Neill left the office, Zimmer saw resignation on O’Neill’s face. The danger with sitting O’Neill against Smoltz was that O’Neill would not be there mentally whenever Torre did have to go back to him. Zimmer thought about O’Neill’s reaction.
“This guy has been playing on one leg all year,” Zimmer said. “I think we really owe it to him.”
Torre agreed. It gave him an idea: why not play Strawberry in left and O’Neill in right? He told Zimmer to bring O’Neill back into his office.
“Manager’s prerogative,” he told O’Neill. “I changed my mind. You’re playing.”
Meanwhile, Fielder, rising to the occasion, was walking around the clubhouse, telling anybody within earshot, “Just get on base! Somebody get on base, and Big Daddy’s got you today! I’ll get you in. Just give me somebody on base.”
Sure enough, Fielder drove in the only run of the game with a double, one of his three hits. Torre’s agonizing lineup decisions worked out well. Leyritz called a smart game. Pettitte threw shut ­out baseball one out into the ninth inning with the help of 14 groundball outs, three of them by way of Hayes.Torre even allowed Pettitte to bat in the top of the ninth inning with two outs and two on rather than use a pinch hitter and turn the game over to Wette­land.
“People were yelling from the stands, ‘Are you guys crazy?’ ” Torre said. “Zimmer turned around and yelled back at them, ‘Sit your ass down!’ ”
A few sections out of earshot, Pettitte’s wife, Laura, was sitting next to Torre’s wife, Ali.
“What’s he doing?” Laura asked. “He’s never done this before. Andy doesn’t pitch the last inning!”
As Torre explained, “You had Chipper Jones leading off the ninth, who at the time wasn’t as good a righthanded hitter. Freddie McGriff, who scared the shit out of me, was the second hitter. I know letting Andy hit in a 1-0 game probably wasn’t the sanest thing to do. But I just wanted him to be the pitcher in the ninth inning.
“Of course, the first pitch Jones hits for a double down the left-field line. Then McGriff hits a groundball to second base and the tying run is on third. I bring Wetteland in and Javy Lopez hits a one-hopper to third. I lucked out.
“Then I made another decision. I intentionally walked Ryan Klesko and pitched to Luis Polonia, even though Klesko was the winning run.”
Now Torre’s last major lineup decision–putting O’Neill back into the lineup–would come into play. Polonia kept fouling off pitches–five in a row–and coach Jose Cardenal kept trying to get O’Neill to move toward center field because the lefthanded Polonia was not getting around on Wetteland’s fastball.
O’Neill, as was his habit, was too busy working on his batting stroke, taking imaginary swings in right field. Cardenal tried waving a towel, and then two towels, and then three towels to get O’Neill’s attention. Finally, just before Wetteland’s seventh pitch to Polonia, O’Neill caught sight of the frantic Cardenal and moved a few steps to his right. Polonia hit the next pitch hard and to the right-center field gap. O’Neill hobbled after it and thrust his glove up as he neared the warning track.
If O’Neill caught the ball, the Yankees would be one win away from the world championship. If he did not catch it, both runners would score, the Yankees would lose the game, the Braves would be one win away from the title, and Torre would be roasted for letting Pettitte hit and start the ninth and for intentionally putting the winning run on base.
O’Neill caught the ball, and without one wobbly step to spare. He smacked his left hand against the outfield wall for emphasis, while limping to a stop. “To see the expression on his face when he caught that ball,” Torre said, “that was special.” The Yankees were going home with a chance to win the World Series.
To win Game 6, the Yankees would have to solve the magic tricks of Maddux. They did just that in the third inning. O’Neill– there for Torre when he needed him–doubled, Girardi tripled, Jeter singled and stole a base, and Williams singled. It added up to a 3-0 lead for Jimmy Key, who left in the sixth inning having given up only one run.

By the seventh, it was time for what Torre called The Formula: Rivera for two innings and Wetteland for one. Rivera took care of the first part of the plan. Wetteland turned his end of the plan into a bit of an adventure. Three singles cut the lead to 3-2 and left run­ners at first and second with two outs in the ninth. Braves second baseman Mark Lemke then worked the count full. On the seventh pitch of the at-bat, Lemke lofted a foul pop-up off third base. Hayes squeezed it, and the Yankees were at last world champions once more.
“Ninety-six was a lot of fun,” Torre said, “because we were underdogs the whole time.”
The next two hours were a blur of tears, laughs, hugs and cham­pagne for Torre. It wasn’t until 2 a.m. that a friend drove him home. When Torre arrived home he found his house packed with peo­ple, people who wanted the night to go on forever. It was quite a sight: Torre arriving at his own house party still was wearing his champagne-soaked Yankees uniform.
Days later, Torre found himself sharing a late breakfast with Stein­brenner at the Regency Hotel in New York. They were perfect for one another, what with Steinbrenner giving Torre a fourth chance and with his best team yet, and Torre giving Steinbrenner his world championship that had eluded him through 17 years and 16 man­agerial changes. Torre reminded Steinbrenner that he was due to make $550,000 in 1997. LaRussa, he pointed out, made about three times as much money, and now Torre had won as many world championships as LaRussa, who had won with Oakland in 1989. Steinbrenner agreed Torre deserved better. He tore up the second year of the contract and the two of them negotiated a new deal: $3.75 million over the next three seasons.
Privately, Ali Torre wished her husband, having fulfilled his dream of a World Series title, could walk away
They had a baby girl, Andrea, at home. She also knew, however, that Torre had developed a special bond with this group of players. He couldn’t leave them. He also wanted to make good on his spring training vision of winning multiple titles. Torre and the Yankees would not win in 1997. Four outs from winning the Division Series against Cleveland, Rivera gave up a tying home run to Sandy Alomar. Rivera lost, 3-2, in the ninth on an infield single by Omar Vizquel.The Yankees lost another one-run game in the clincher, 4-3. Torre came back after that season, too. And he came back after winning the World Series again in 1998 and he came back after winning it again in 1999 and he came back after winning it again in 2000 . . . 11 more seasons in all after that first year as Yankees manager fulfilled his dream. He went on because the 1996 world championship confirmed his belief in the power of trust. The championship was a validation. It changed him as a manager, even as a person, and he liked what he had become.
“I finally started getting self-esteem as far as the work I did,” Torre said when explaining why he stayed with the job. “I finally discovered what I did worked. You always think you’re doing the right thing, but there was always a reason why it didn’t pan out. It came back to you got fired for one reason: you didn’t get the job done.
“When we did it in ’96, it was such a high for me, realizing that we won, and I felt very much in control of the situations where these players who had been there before I was there respected what I was doing. You never get enough of that. And that’s why. That’s why.
“And then the Yankee thing. You know eventually you’re going to wear out your welcome. But the core of players that was still there, I wasn’t ready to walk away from them. And the money was good. And the challenge. Every single year was different, even though the team was the same, the name of the team, there’s al­ways another ingredient introduced to what you’re doing. I feel like I can look at a team and try to put the puzzle together.”

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“One of the best books about baseball ever written.”—New York Daily News 

"An insightful and non-hagiographic look at a legendary manager and team during one of baseball's most transformational eras."—Boston Globe
"The consummate insider's view of what may be the last great dynasty in baseball history."—Los Angeles Times
"An appealing portrait of a likable, hard-working man. One closes the book with a high regard for Mr. Torre, not least as a manager."—Wall Street Journal
"A lively chronicle. . . . What this book does . . . very persuasively is chart the rise and fall of one of baseball's great dynasties, while showing the care and feeding it took to bring the city of New York four championships in five years." —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"A capacious fresh account of [Torre’s] great run in the Bronx.... Verducci has range and ease; he's a shortstop on the page." —The New Yorker
"Compelling. . . . A hybrid of insider reporting [and] autobiography." —The Christian Science Monitor
“Fascinating reading.”—The New York Times Book Review
“[Filled with] many insights, some about human nature, many about the great American game.” —Bloomberg News

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Yankee Years 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 176 reviews.
BeachBaby27 More than 1 year ago
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves baseball, especially the Yankees. It makes you nostalgic for the Torre Era and wish there was a way for him to come back and manage the team again. All the hype about it being a back-stabbing, revenge thing is just not true and when you actually read the entire book, you see that Joe stays true to his personality and is honest without being over the line about what he says.(Or telling "dirty" clubhouse secrets.) It takes you on a trip down memory lane, sometimes heart-wrenching, sometimes exciting, but you definitely get to see how difficult it is to manage a team like the Yankees and appreciate him more for doing it while also bringing the team to levels it had not seen in years. He is a class act in my opinion and always will be and I commend him for publishing this book knowing just how harsh the media can be.
JohnM More than 1 year ago
Being a huge Yankee fan, I was looking forward to purchasing this book, and bought a copy on the first day in the stores. I expected this to be a detailed book on the thoughts, directions, inspirations and visions of Joe Torre, with the obvious ghost writing inherent in this type of book. What I found was a drawn out account of Yankee history that lost the reader often, bounced back and forth with some facts and figures, and very little from the mind of Joe Torre! This really is a book by Tom Verducci, who just happened to ask questions of some of the Yankees - including Joe Torre. The book gets bogged down often and it became painful to read at times. I had to force myself to finish it! The whole first chapter set-up was never really detailed at all, and one never gets the final thought process behind the Yankee "termination" of Mr. Torre. I am sure it wasn't granted, but to get the real scoop from Steinbrenner or Cashman would have been great. Clearly, Mr. Verducci had some Yankees who talked more than others (eg., Mike Mussina, for example), and I feel it put a slant on the whole book. This really is a deceiving book when you see Joe Torre's name as the author, and Doubleday really did themselves harm by presenting the book in this fashion. If I could I would return the book. For me, it wasn't worth the time reading!
pie_1 More than 1 year ago
The Yankee Years by Joe Torre and Tom Verducci is an informative biography. The book Yankee Years is one of the best biographies I have ever read. It tells Joe Torre's and the Yankee player's real opinions about each other. It shows excerpts from letters and paper articles made about players and Torre throughout the Torre era. The Joe Torre era takes place from 1996 - 2007 with Torre managing the Yankees in the Bronx. The unique thing about Yankee Years is that there is not one specific conflict. As days and seasons pass by, different conflicts arise and others are resolved. Two examples of conflicts are Clemens and Rodriguez. Clemens face social problems when Rodriguez is all conceited. Clemens came over to the Bronx from Toronto. He was a Cy Young award winning pitcher who the Yankees desperately desired. He comes over and can't seem to fit in. He is very emotional and needed to be one on one with a personal trainer to really relax and do what he does. Steroid use helped Clemens get back to being Clemens, the dominating pitcher. This of course attracted the media. Since this book is a biography we get the real words and real information. The book is mostly out of Torre's perspective except for a few interviews from players. The book used many curses and the tone went from being angry to funny, happy, or sad. Sport commentators, Newspaper writers or just people who like the Yankees should read this book. It brings you inside the clubhouse, on the field, off the field, and in the dugout. You'll what really went down in the dynasty.
ShelbyMC More than 1 year ago
This book while well written could have been much more I felt there were many places where the writers went into great depth and detail about his more liked and respected players but stopped well short of any real critical opinions or comments of well documented shortfalls and failures. The author seemed to want both sides of the fence in that there were some provocative issues that could have been delved into in much greater insight and opinion. I felt that the authors wanted the publicity and reviews of inside information but were very conscious to stay away from any real feelings and opinions. After reading this book my feelings and opinions of Joe Torre and those involved were not changed or enhanced. I expected and wanted more. Seemed to be a vanilla attempt to sell books and make money.
reading4funMN More than 1 year ago
Joe Torre and Tom Verducci do an amazing job in detailing Torre's years with the Yankees. As a person who has grown up not to like the NYY, I really enjoyed this book and it has given me a whole new perspective on baseball and how the much goes on behind the scenes of a baseball club. Sometimes it's not all just about baseball... I would recommend for anyone who is truly a baseball fan, and those who don't know a lot about the game may find the book interesting as Torre explains how and why things are done, and how they affect what goes on during the game.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best books I've ever read - can't be because I'm a big Yankee fan!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i cant belive how much i liked it i am a huge yankees fan i am going to read it again all in all the yankees yaers is a must read book for any big yankees fan.
glauver More than 1 year ago
Verducci picked Torre's brain to write this history of the Yankee years. However, he often repeats the same fact several times. Some of his points are certainly valid, but he seems to underrate some of the Yankee players, especially A-Rod. Torre also neatly ducks the responsibility for the steroid era. Hopefully, someone will eventually write the story of this Yankee era with a critical eye on all the protagonists. When that happens, we will be able to evaluate the Torre regime more clearly.
Noslomot More than 1 year ago
As an admitted Yankee fan and attendee of many of the games cited in the book. I enjoyed the book immensly. However, Joe Torre's contribution to the writting is minimal at best. In fact it appears Verducci spent more time with David Cone and the Bullpen catcher. That said if you are an admirer of this period in Yankee History, I think you will enjoy the book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The marketing of this book was deceptive. I expected a first person narrative directly from Joe. Instead, we get alot of of third person accounts of what Joe said, did or encountered. I suspect he did this to avoid the legal and media fallout of "taking on the Yankees".
MrSunshine More than 1 year ago
This did not seem like it was a Joe Torre's documentation of his Yankee years. The book seemed to reflect more of the observations and opinions of Tom Verducci than Joe Torre. Although Torre was quoted numerous times, Mike Messina was probably quoted just as many times. I thought the book was disappointing. There was also a lot of repetitive rhetoric related to the on going changes that were taking place though out baseball and the structure and management of teams.
rocketjk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The listed authorship of this book is deceptive, as it gives the impression that this is an "as told to memoir." But the book is all written in the third person, clearly by Verducci, not Torre, as a history of those years that Joe Torre managed the Yankees. Obviously, Verducci spent many hours interviewing Torre for this (as well as many other sources), as the book heavily relies upon quotes from Torre and on Torre's memories of events. My guess is that Torre included his name as co-author in order to avow his support for and approval of the contents of the book. Or maybe it was a marketing decision. Or maybe both.At any rate, this is an excellent, excellent baseball history, and not just for Yankee fans. Verducci does a great job of describing the in and outs, the personalities, the drama and melodrama, of the 12 seasons that Joe Torre managed the Yankees, including the incredible run of championships at the beginning of Torre's tenure. But Verducci also does a great job of placing all those events within the context of the developments going on in and around the Yankees in the world of major league baseball in general. Both the steroid situation and the changes in scouting and player appraisal heralded by the arrival of the "Moneyball" philosphy are covered well, for example.This is a smart, well-written, in-depth book, of interest to all baseball fans, I would think, not just for Yankee fans.
lateinnings on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An above-average autobiography thanks to Verducci's editing. I enjoyed it.
hendy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Liked this book. I read this as an avid sports lover and someone who enjoys watching baseball though as a Royals fan and too young to be part of a winning tradition I'm on the opposite spectrum of Yankee fans. I despise the Yankees but have to admire the joy Yankee fans get to experience year in and year out when their team not only makes the playoffs every year but has a legitamte shot at winning the World Series. I was hoping to get a little more dirt on some of the players, as well as the BOSS, but fell a little short in that regard. A lot of the time I was reading I found myself questioning how Torre remembered exactly what was said during a particular conversation, meeting, game, event etc. when these took place sometimes years ago. I know I'm a geek but when you use quotations and not only quote yourself but the toher person you had the conversation with I expect it to be word for word what you and/or that other person said but I know that couldn't possibly be the case unless there was a tape recorder involved. The biggest theme of the book for me was two things you knew prior to reading the book, as a Yankees fan or just a baseball fan; Derek Jeter is the good guy/hero and Alex Rodriguez is the villian and the guy you love to hate. It's pretty clear that's the way Torre sees it.
tgraettinger on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not as interesting as hoped. The best segments focused on a season or portion thereof. Otherwise, it seemed to wander, especially in the discussion of steroids.
BrianStone on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"The Yankees Years" was a great book. This book was very eye opening for me since I am a die hard Yankee fan. Joe Torre was the best thing to happen to the Yankees in a long time. he managed the Yanks from 1996-2007 and every year he managed the Yanks they went to the playoffs. It is a hard task to make it to the playoffs one year let alone do in for twelve straight years. and of those twelve years going to the playoffs, they made it to the World Series six times and winning it four times. Even though he did all these things at the beginning of his career as a Yankee he was under this enormous pressure. Joe actually wasn't the manager that the yankees wanted but since the rest of them went to other teams that is who they had to get. It seemed that nothing that he did actually took any of the pressure off. He seemed to be constantly stressed out and he couldn't get a lot of help when he needed it. George Steinbrenner, the Yankes owner, never seemed to help Joe when he asked it and when Joe didn't want the help George would walk in his office and tell him what he should do. Also Brian Cashman, the Yankees GM, wasn't a lot of help actually it seemed that Brian made thingd worse for George. This book shared with the reader the relationships that Joe had with all of his players, from the veterans to the rookies, with the state of New York, that was a Yankee fan, and with the members of the management of the Yankees. I loved this book for a few reasons. One was that I am a die hard Yankee fan. Two would be that Joe was the greatest manager ever. Another reason is that this book is a book that I actually know a lot about. I gave this book five stars out of five stars. I recommend this book for any sports fans who know a lot about baseball and for people who like Joe Torre and all that he has done to baseball.
deman88 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book any Yankees, fan correct that baseball fan. It shows the changing of baseball after Moneyball The Art of Winning an Unfair Game was released. This book chronicles Torre's time in the Yankees through his 1995 start to his firing in 2007, it shows the Yankees step fall from a championship caliber team with wins in 96,98,99,and 2000 and the inefficient old veteran base timed through 2007. Though it is out of date because of the Yankees 27th World Championship, I felt it was unfair against the Yankee organization to some degree altogether skewing them as cynical. It highlighted the bad decisions on the Yankee's part spending large amounts of money on busts and aging veterans. Overall, I recommend this book, once you get into it, it shined Ton Verducci really put this story into word really well, although the beginning was slow, and it is somewhat out of date I advise you to take a look a this book, it's worth it.
librarygeek33 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I Couldn't get through this one. It seemed like David Cone had more authorship than Joe Torre. Maybe I've been spoiled by David Halberstam. I found myself slogging through it just to get at the gossip. That's when I stopped. I wasn't feeling the baseball atmosphere, if you know what I mean.
Ti99er on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Yankee Years by Joe Torre and Tom VerducciAs a die hard Red Sox fan reporting on a book about the Yankees let me first say this:YANKEES SUCK!Okay now that I have taken care of all of the housekeeping items I will begin the review. As you are reading this you might ask, what is a Red Sox fan doing reading a book about the Evil Empire? Hearing this question I might answer, because if there was any one good thing ever in the history of the Yankees organization, it was Joe Torre. Torre is a class act and a consummate professional. What I will never be able to get through my head is why the Yankees ever let this man go. Let¿s look at the hard facts; Torre managed the Yankees for 12 successive seasons. The Yankees made the play-offs in all 12 of those seasons (this is a mind boggling feat, I know people will argue that the Yankees always had (by far) the largest payroll in the league, but still making the play-offs each year is very impressive). Of those 12 seasons the Yankees went to 6¿..count `em 6 World Series. And of the 6 World Series, won 4 of them. These stats are mind blowing, half of Joe¿s tour of duty ended with the Yankees playing in the last games of the MLB season. Ok, so the Yankees organization is not satisfied unless the team wins the World Series, so they decide since they hadn¿t won the Series since 2000 that it was time for a change. So what happened? They fired Joe Torre who went on to manage the LA Dodgers and brought them to the 2nd round of the play-offs; a team that didn¿t make the play-offs in 2007. The Yankees then hired Joe Girardi as their new manager. Girardi in turn brought the Yankees to a thrilling World Series victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. No wait I¿m a little off¿¿..oh ya here we go¿¿.Giradrdi¿s Yankees didn¿t even make the play-offs (for the 1st time in 13 years). Oh and as a side note to the argument about the Yankees having the highest payroll in the league during the Torre years, they still had the highest payroll last season under Girardi.But I digress The Yankee Years although thoroughly different from the book I expected it to be was a pleasurable read. Especially Chapter 10 End of the Curse; a detailed description of the 2004 ALCS where the Boston Red Sox came back from an 0-3 deficit (1st and only time a team has come back and won down 3 games in a best of 7 series in Major League Baseball history) to overthrow the Yankees and went on to win the ¿04 World Series.The media had touted this book as blasphemous account of Torre¿s years with the Yankees. These media reports even suggested that the Yankees might consider entering clauses into employee contracts banning them from writing about the Yankees during or at the conclusion of there employment. I didn¿t find any such treachery documented within the pages of this book. It certainly included tidbits of information that would not be readily available to a fan of the game, but there was by no means any ill begotten secrets scrolled upon the pages. This book is just as the title states; The Yankee Years. It is about the Yankees during the 12 year period of Joe Torre¿s management reign. If you are looking for a Joe Torre memoir, then you haven¿t found the right book. But if you are interested in what happened over the last 12 years in the Yankee organization, then this book is certainly worth the read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the bopk very intrestong
joezak More than 1 year ago
lessthan 1/2 done but good reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Woohooo go yankees im a yankees #1 fan plus im 12 and u suc bosten mwuhahahaha
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