Hot Stove New YorkSenior Writer IOctober 16, 2009

With the playoffs in full swing, the possibilities begin to become realities. Manager Joe Torre’s Dodgers, focus is now on the NLCS as the team swept the Cardinals in three games to proceed onward.

Across the country another team with a chief named Joe accomplished the same. Joe Girardi’s Yankees followed L.A.’s lead tonight in Minnesota’s Metrodome by winning their third game against the Twins. The possibility of Joe vs. Joe could happen and what a World Series that would be.

Two teams, two sweeps, two Joe’s who have much more in common then realized. These Joe’s own quite a history together.

Here is a little out of this chapter:

1) Both Joe’s Play
Ironically, both skippers were catchers. Torre* batted and threw right as did Girardi.  Both were players in New York during their career. Torre played in Queens as a Met; Girardi in the Bronx wearing Yankee Pinstripes. The selection as an All-Star only happened once for Girardi in 2000. On the other hand, Torre was an all-star nine times in a decade (1963-73), won a gold glove in 65′ and was the NL MVP in 1971. Torre in comparison to Girardi was a more complete hitter but sadly never once made it to October as an active participant. For Girardi, in a decade (1989-99) he played in six postseasons and won three World Series rings.

2) Joe manages Joe.
Girardi won those three World Series championships with Torre as his manager. Torre presided over the Yankees in the late 90’s when Girardi was the team’s catcher. Torre’s success as a skipper in October was the opposite of his playing years. With the Yankees he went 12 years in a row. He holds the evidence for MLB’s most winning manager with 2000+ wins.

3) Joe Follows Joe
When Girardi retired as a player, he went directly into broadcasting for the YES network in 2004.  The next year he the offer to be the Marlins bench coach with a promotion to manager guaranteed. Instead, he follows Torre and became his bench coach in 2005. The next season Florida named Girardi manager and won Manager of the Year his first season as a skipper in 2006.  Marlins owner, and Girardi did not hit it off and he got fired in this same year. Though Girardi had several offers to lead again in 2007, he decided to return to YES and broadcast for the Yankees.

4) Joe replaces Joe
Well, 2008 was the end of the Torre era in Pinstripe. It also marked the beginning for another Joe. In late October, Joe Girardi became the Bombers manager and Torre’s replacement. Torre went to the Dodgers. Mattingly, and fellowship followed, but Tony Pena stayed on as Yankees bench coach for Girardi. Girardi had said many a time that when named as Yankee head the first call he made was to Torre.  What makes this so extraordinary is that the Dodgers wanted Girardi to manage in L.A. but he wanted to work for the Yankees. This was just two years before Torre hires Girardi who passed on Dodger’s proposal. Supposedly L.A. wanted Girardi so badly to be wearing Dodger blue that they offered him the job before ownership granted permission. Girardi said no to get the duty under his skipper in New York.

5. Joe on Joe

After this soap opera of a link, both men have nothing but the highest regard and respect for each other.

Here are two quotes from this dynamic duo and their admiration for each other is evident.

Girardi on Torre:
“The great thing about Joe was that he let me say anything I wanted and I was never fearful of saying anything; that’s the greatest guy you can work for. Joe’s a very trusting guy. One of the big things I learned about him was his patience and the importance of knowing people.”

Torre in Girardi:
“He’s a good manager and he’s going to get better,” Torre said today. “I’m happy for him. … They’re a very good team.”

* Torre played first and third base during his career but is #15 on Top 50 Catchers of All-Time. *