Joe Torre Amateur Scouting Report From 1959: ‘Ordinary Until He Turned Catcher’
Former managers Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox were unanimously elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame earlier this week by the expansion era committee. The three World Series-winning skippers will be inducted at Cooperstown, N.Y. on July 27, 2014.
Torre, La Russa and Cox each had professional playing careers, too, but only Torre and La Russa reached the major leagues. While La Russa’s big league playing stint was brief, Torre played 18 years with the Braves, Cardinals and Mets.
By the time Torre won the National league MVP Award in 1971, he was a third baseman, but he debuted as a catcher with the Braves in 1960. Late Braves’ scout John Russell filed an amateur scouting report (see below) on Torre in 1959. The highlights:
• Physical Description: strong, husky type
• Nationality: Ital-Amer.
• How Many Years Before Major Leaguer? 4-5 years
• Remarks: “This fellow was just ordinary until he turned catcher. From that point on he became outstanding.”
The position switch meant everything for Torre, who debuted in Milwaukee, where the Braves were based in 1960, well ahead of Russell’s projected timetable.
It’s also notable that Torre’s ethnic background was listed as his nationality. Remember that Dave Winfield had odd descriptives on his scouting report, too.