RIP Frank Torre

Frank Torre

Frank Torre

I saw over the weekend that Frank Torre died. Today he’s most famous as Joe’s big brother. That’s kind of a shame because he was a pretty good ballplayer in his own right (but his younger brother was better).

I remember him from the late 1950s Milwaukee Braves. He was a tall first baseman who carried an enormous glove. There was a joke going around that Red Schoendienst (the Braves second baseman) covered the thirty feet closest to second, Torre took the thirty feet closest to first, and Torre’s glove covered the middle thirty feet between first and second. He was a very good first baseman, not Keith Hernandez good, but still darned good. He didn’t hit a lot; going .273 with 13 home runs for his career, although in 1957 he scored six runs in a game. It was an era of big hulking first basemen who hit the ball a long way and did an adequate job at first. Milwaukee’s answer to that was Joe Adcock. In 1957 Adcock got hurt and Torre did most of the first base work late in the season. He got into the World Series and hit .300 with two home runs (only Henry Aaron had more). The Braves won and got back to the Series in ’58. They lost and Torre did poorly with the bat (but still played well at first). He ended up spending a lot of time coming into games late to spell Adcock when the Braves wanted a good defense to protect a lead.

He ended up playing a couple of years in Philadelphia. He hit .300 one year, but still had no power. His last year was 1963 and he was through by then. He was 31. I lost track of him after that until he resurfaced with the heart problems in 1996. It made a great story with him in a hospital bed, his younger brother managing his old nemesis team the Yankees against his old team the Braves. But after New York won, he slipped back into obscurity.

I always liked that 1957-’59 Braves team. I think it’s one of the great teams ever and it gets totally lost behind the New York teams. Torre was a major member of that team and I always kind of liked him (although Spahn, Burdette, Aaron, and Mathews were the guys I liked best). RIP, Frank, you will be missed by the baseball community.

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3 Responses to “RIP Frank Torre”

  1. Glen Russell Slater Says:

    Very sorry to hear that he died. The pride of Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, both him and his brother. (and Lee Mazzilli, as well.) I live a stone-throw from where the Torres and Mazilli grew up.

    I always liked Joe Torre, both as a player and as a manager. I never got to see his older brother play. I’m surprised to read that he only hit 13 homers in his career. Really???? That’s very surprising to me. I thought he was a better hitter than that, and being a first baseman and all, too.

    V, as sad as it is to hear about Torre, I’ve got to tell you that this is an amazing piece of writing, and I mean that sincerely. It’s extremely well-done, V.

    Glen

  2. steve Says:

    I like how wordpress lists related articles at the bottom. On this one it says the “outsiders of 1957” from a previous post you wrote v.

    Wisconsin Avenue in Milwaukee had its ticker tape parade that year 1957; the only time it’s ever happened in Milwaukee. I have a black white xerox copy form a photo from a book of that parade. Got it on my wall. I think we had a second ticker tape in 1982 after the brewers reached the series but lost.

    There’s still a Braves fun club that meets in Milwaukee; a Milwaukee Braves fan club. I don’t think they pay too much attention to the Atlanta Braves. Maybe there will be a special gathering for Frank Torre. If I hear anything I’ll let you know.

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