Until Joe Torre came around, Al Arbour had no competition as the pre-eminent leader of a dynastic New York franchise over the last 50 years.
Ten years ago, Torre joined the conversation. There were the four World Series championships. There were the playoff berths in every season he coached. There was the perfect management of personalities in his stacked lineup, even if Derek Jeter is the only everyday player from the World Series teams going to the Hall of Fame.
Most of all, there was the perception of true leadership. Torre put on a Masters class in public relations with every media scrum in his office, every phoner with “Mike & The Mad Dog.” As brilliant as he was with protecting his team, the Yankees manager was unsurpassed in protecting his own image. “That stuff stays in the room,” he said all the time.
Is there any reason for the rest of our lives to ever believe a coach or player with that one?
Torre wants it every way with this book. Cute idea to have it by Joe Torre & Tom Verducci, as opposed to “As Told To.” Just because it’s well-written and insightful (thanks to Verducci) doesn’t change anything. Torre has now blown what always mattered to him most – his image. He’s going to spend the next week in New York repairing it, masterfully no doubt. But the damage is done.
With each year, the skill, the dignity, the class of the man they called “Radar” only become more untouchable. How blessed we were to have him in New York, on Long Island.
Al Arbour stands alone.