New York Yankees: Countdown to Opening Day #6
The countdown to New York Yankees baseball is down to six. We don’t have to look back far to find the last Yankee great to wear the number six. Joe Torre managed the New York Yankees for 12 seasons. His iconic number six was retired in 2014.
Each player in this countdown had huge roles on the best Yankees dynasties throughout the years. Torre never played for the Yanks, but he was just a big a part of the 90’s dynasty as anyone else. Hired in 1996, Torre managed 1,942 regular season games with the Yankees. He compiled a 1,173-767 record, and his team made the playoffs in every one of his twelve seasons. Over that span, the team won six American League pennants and four World Series titles.
Torre’s hiring didn’t receive the best fan response at the start of 1996. By the end of that season, the New York Yankees were World Champions, Torre was named Manager of the Year and quickly became a fan favorite. As any baseball fan could tell you, 1996 was just the start of the next Yankee dynasty. They would go on to win World Series titles in 1998, 1999, and 2000.
He was named Manager of the Year once more in 1998 after his team won a record 125 wins including the postseason. The 1998 season was easily the highlight of Torre’s career. The team is regarded as one of the greatest baseball teams of all-time.
Torre’s tenure with the Yankees ended after the 2007 season when he declined a one-year extension. The offer was poorly received by Yankee fans, criticizing the front office for not treating their long-time manager right. Regardless of how it ended, Torre’s career as manager of the New York Yankees was legendary.
The Brooklyn native was invited back to Yankee Stadium on August 23rd, 2014, where the team retired his number six. That same year, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Now, he serves as the Chief Baseball Officer for Major League Baseball. Torre, who was the GM for Team USA, just recently added a World Baseball Classic title to his resume, after the team won the tournament this year.
Before Torre was Joe Gordon, who wore the number six in pinstripes from 1938 to 1943. A terrific second baseman, Gordon was the first to show much power from the position. He was the first AL second baseman to surpass 20 homers in a season, and went on to do it seven times. Gordon was a nine-time All-Star and won the AL MVP in 1942. Gordon was an important member of five World Series-winning teams, four of which were in pinstripes. “Flash” was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009.
Both Torre and Gordon wore the number six in pinstripes with pride, and their legacy lives on. Torre’s number was retired and he was honored with a plaque in Memorial Park. Memorial Park and Yankee Stadium will have to wait a little longer to see live baseball, but the New York Yankees, and us fans, only have to wait six more days.