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Dodgers make it official, hire Torre

Joe Torre was hired Thursday to manage the Los Angeles Dodgers, taking the job two weeks after walking away from the New York Yankees.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Joe Torre was hired Thursday to manage the Los Angeles Dodgers, taking the job two weeks after walking away from the New York Yankees.

The winningest manager in postseason history, Torre moved from one storied franchise to another and got a three-year contract. The Dodgers finished fourth in the NL West this season and have only one playoff victory since winning the 1988 World Series under Tom Lasorda.

“I’m so happy for him. I think his record speaks for itself,” Lasorda said. “I think what he accomplished with the Yankees, he should have been able to control his destiny. We’re happy that he’s here — very happy.”

The 67-year-old Torre will be introduced at a news conference Monday at Dodger Stadium.

Torre becomes the Dodgers’ eighth manager since they moved west from his hometown of Brooklyn, where he rooted for the rival New York Giants.

“As a kid growing up, you didn’t like them,” Torre said on WFAN radio in New York less than an hour before the hiring was announced. “As a player, to me the Dodgers were the Yankees of the National League because ... you either loved them or you hated them.”

Now, Torre joins the Dodgers for their 50th anniversary season in Los Angeles.

Torre guided the Yankees to four World Series championships from 1996-2000, and they made the playoffs in all 12 years he managed them. After New York was beaten in the first round by Cleveland last month, the Yankees offered him a one-year contract with a paycut.

Calling the performance incentives in the proposal “an insult,” Torre turned it down. Torre was hired by the Dodgers on the same day the Yankees formally introduced Joe Girardi as their manager.

Torre ranks eighth on baseball’s career list with 2,067 victories. He also managed the New York Mets, St. Louis and Atlanta but won only one division title in the NL, in 1982 with the Braves.

“Few managers in the history of the game have accomplished what Joe has delivered,” Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. “Throughout his career he has demonstrated the ability to turn a vision for success into results on the field and we welcome his passion and leadership. We have tremendous fans and they deserve no less.”

Torre passed former Dodgers managers Leo Durocher (2,009) and Walter Alston (2,040) last season on the career wins list. He has 76 postseason victories.

Since Lasorda left during the 1996 season after suffering a heart attack, the Dodgers are 1-9 in three playoff appearances.

Torre completed a $19.2 million, three-year contract with the Yankees this season. He made $7.5 million this year — the highest salary among major league managers — and the Yankees offered $5 million for next year with an additional $3 million in performance bonuses.

“Joe Torre is one of the most respected men in the game of baseball,” Dodgers owner Frank McCourt said. “As a player, a broadcaster, a manager and in his life off the field, Joe is a winner through and through.”