As a Major League Baseball executive, manager and player, Joe Torre has been a baseball ambassador for six decades. Recognizing Mr. Torre’s achievements in baseball and his commitment to the betterment of children through the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation, Little League® International is proud to honor him as the 2013 William A. “Bill” Shea Little League Graduate of the Year recipient.
“Joe Torre shaped his life around his experiences on Little League fields,” said Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball and Softball. “Throughout his time in baseball, Mr. Torre has not lost sight of the importance of being an ambassador for the game. Now, as Major League Baseball’s Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, his continued willingness to provide time, attention and assistance to several social causes makes him a worthy recipient of the Bill Shea Award.”
The William A. “Bill” Shea Award was established in 1987 to recognize a former Little Leaguer® in Major League Baseball who best exemplifies the spirit of Little League. Consideration for selection includes both the individual’s ability and accomplishments and that person’s status as a positive role model. Mr. Shea, a former President of the Little League Foundation, is credited with bringing National League Baseball back to New York in the early 1960s, while also working diligently for the advancement of Little League Baseball.
“Being a Brooklyn native, and having spent so much of my professional career in New York as a player and a manager, it is an honor to be recognized with an award that celebrates the legacy of Bill Shea,” said Joe Torre. “Baseball was an important part of my childhood, and I would like to thank Little League for this recognition.”
During his 18-year Major League playing career, Joe Torre hit over .300 five times, drove in more than 100 runs in five different seasons and hit 20-plus home runs six times. A nine-time All-Star, he was the recipient of the National League Most Valuable Player Award in 1971, and claimed one batting championship along with one RBI crown. Retiring as a player at the age of 37, his last season serving as a player-manager with the New York Mets, Mr. Torre skippered the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals, who he also played for, as well as the New York Yankees and, most recently, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In 33 full seasons in the dugout, he posted 2,326 wins, placing him fifth all-time on Major League Baseball’s list of managerial wins. He is the first person to win 2,000 games as a manager and tally 2,000 hits as a player. He managed the Yankees to four World Series Championships and took the team to the postseason in every one of the twelve seasons that he was at the helm in the Bronx. In February 2011, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig appointed Mr. Torre to his current position. In addition to being and MLB executive, Mr. Torre also managed Team USA in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Off the field, Mr. Torre has been committed to the betterment of children and families. Mr. Torre and his wife, Ali, created the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation, which operates approximately a dozen domestic violence resource centers called Margaret’s Place, named after Mr. Torre’s mother. Located in New York City and Westchester County, N.Y., these facilities offer peer counseling programs and promote anti-violence campaigns within schools, while encouraging children to discuss family problems more freely.
Father to four children, son Michael and daughters Lauren, Cristina and Andrea, Mr. Torre, 73, played the game for its enjoyment and had the talent and knowledge to make baseball his career. His personal and professional experiences and enthusiasm for Little League mesh with the role that Little League plays in communities throughout the world, which makes the organization proud to honor him with this award.
Mr. Torre will be recognized at a ceremony during the 67th Little League Baseball World Series, which begins on Thursday, Aug. 15 in South Williamsport, Pa., with the Championship Game scheduled for 3 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 25.