California Angels broadcaster Joe Torre was named manager of the St. Louis Cardinals today, returning to a role he had with the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets and to a city where he was an All-Star.
Torre, a former Cardinal who has been with the Angels for the past five years as a broadcaster, said he was excited about being back on the field after being out of the game for more than five years.
Torre, who was in Minneapolis with the California team said, "I've enjoyed my time in the American League, the fans of Southern California and other friendships. Part of me has always been a Cardinal. So it's special to return 'home' as a manager.
"What will be toughest for me is when the Cowboy (Angels owner Gene Autry) wins that long-awaited World Series and me not being there.
"St. Louis has always been special to me. It's always been a second home for me, and now it will be my home."
The Cardinals felt their choice of Torre was inevitable.
"During the selection process, I interviewed a number of very good candidates," General Manager Dal Maxvill said. "But I kept coming back to Joe Torre. . . . I'm confident he will be a very good manager."
Torre, in an 18-year big league career, played with the Cardinals for six seasons from 1969-1974. He won the batting title in 1971 with a .363 average and drove in 137 runs.
The hiring of Torre, 50, ended a monthlong search for the successor to Whitey Herzog, who was in his 11th season with the Cardinals when he resigned July 6.
The announcement surprised no one since published reports had Torre as the successor to Herzog. (Story, C1.)
Torre had been the front-runner to succeed Herzog since the early days of the search. He managed the Braves to a National League West title in 1982, losing to the Cardinals in the playoffs in three straight, and managed the Mets from 1977-81.
Torre also was a teammate of Maxvill's with the Cardinals, and hired Maxvill for his coaching staff in both New York and Atlanta. He played for St. Louis from 1969 through 1974 and hit .363 and won the National League MVP in 1971.
Torre was one of seven candidates interviewed for the job. The others considered to be the strongest candidates were Milwaukee Brewers batting coach Don Baylor and Philadelphia Phillies Coach Hal Lanier. Maxvill also interviewed Atlanta Coach Pat Corrales and Toronto Blue Jays Coach Gene Tenace as well as two candidates from within the organization, Louisville (Triple A) Manager Gaylen Pitts and minor-league hitting instructor Mike Jorgensen.