New York Yankees: Drama with Joe Torre Finally Ends in Old Timers Day Appearance
It only took four years for Joe Torre to come back to Yankee Stadium and be a part of the team.
Even if it was just for one day.
The last time Joe Torre wore pinstripes as the manager for the Yankees, his squad was being eliminated by the Cleveland Indians in Game 4 of the 2007 ALDS.
After then, George Steinbrenner was a man of his word when he said Torre would be out if the Yankees didn't advance in the postseason that season.
Steinbrenner did offer Torre a one-year deal with incentives if Torre advanced in the playoffs, an offer Torre considered to be insulting, which lead to the Yankees and Torre parting ways after 11 years together.
The Yankees hired Joe Girardi that winter, while the Los Angeles Dodgers took advantage of the situation by firing Grady Little and quickly signed Torre to a three-year deal.
In 2008, the Yankees missed the playoffs under Girardi's first year, something Torre never did while as the Yankees manager, while Torre led the Dodgers to the National League West division title and to the National League Championship Series.
A lot of people thought letting Torre go to bring in Girardi was a huge mistake.
Should the Yankees have brought back Joe Torre after the 2007 season?
Well, at least until 2009 when the Yankees under Girardi won the World Series by beating the then-defending champion Philadelphia Phillies.
During the 2009 season, Torre, along with Sports Illustrated writer Tom Verducci, wrote a very controversial book called "The Yankee Years" which was very critical of Yankees management, including current Yankees GM Brian Cashman, saying Cashman betrayed him during that final negotiation period with the team back in 2007.
At that point, it looked like the Yankees and Torre would never reconcile. It was looking like bridges were being slowly burned. Or so we thought.
That was, until last season after Steinbrenner's death, Torre appeared on September 20 to immortalize Steinbrenner with a monument in Yankee Stadium's Monument Park.
That was the first step in the healing period for the Yankees and Torre.
On Sunday, June 26, 2011, the Yankees and Torre took the biggest step needed for forgiveness and moving on.
Torre appeared at the 65th edition of the Yankees Old Timers Day, his very first as a non-active member of the organization.
From 1996 until 2007, Torre sat in the dugout and saw many Old Timer Days when he was the manager of the team. But this was the first time he would take part of the ceremony as being an actual part of the attraction.
Usually, guys like Paul O'Neill, David Wells, David Cone, Reggie Jackson, Ron Guidry and Yogi Berra would draw the biggest fan reactions.
Lately, so has Bernie Williams, who was also a part of Sunday's festivities.
But this day, Torre drew a standing ovation from the Yankee faithful crowd that lasted several minutes. It was chilling to see and hear on TV. In person, it must have been overwhelming and something that will never be forgotten.
For everyone involved with the Yankees, it was needed.
Torre is a big part of the organization and the history.
Torre had a 1,173-767 record with the Yankees, lead them to 12 straight playoff appearances, 10 division titles, six World Series appearances and four World Series championships.
It's probably only a matter of time before the Yankees decide to enshrine Torre by putting his No. 6 into Monument Park with the other Yankees retired numbers like Babe Ruth's No. 3, Lou Gehrig's No. 4 or Joe DiMaggio's No. 5.
The Yankees have two former manager's numbers retired in Monument Park; Billy Martin's No. 1 and Casey Stengel's No. 37.
Torre eventually will be the third one whenever that day comes.
But for all of that to even happen, the feud between the two had to end.
On Sunday, Torre said he had spoken to Cashman, the Steinbrenner family and the Yankees management and all sides apparently have moved on from the past.
As a fan, it was great to see the two sides get over the feud.
You can tell from Sunday he is still beloved by the fans and their former manager was graciously accepted back into their stadium.
Since leaving the Dodgers after 2010, Torre has been the vice president for baseball operations for Major League Baseball.
But on Sunday, Joe Torre was a part of the Yankees again.
Even if it was just for one day.
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