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News » Torre to coach in All-Star Game Former Cardinals player, manager returns to St. Louis for big event as part of Manuel's NL staff

Torre to coach in All-Star Game Former Cardinals player, manager returns to St. Louis for big event as part of Manuel's NL staff

Torre to coach in All-Star Game Former Cardinals player, manager returns to St. Louis for big event as part of Manuel's NL staff
When Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre let the cat out of the bag the other day in Philadelphia that he had been asked to be a coach for the All-Star Game on July 14 here - and he had accepted that invitation - the National League's chances for its first victory since 1996 rose mightily.

Yes, Torre would be a coach, assisting Charlie Manuel, the manager of the world champion Phillies, but his mere presence in the city where he achieved his greatest Baseball fame as a player should be enough. Surely nobody can surpass Torre's record in All-Star Games as a player and manager.

As a player on nine National League All-Star teams, Torre was on eight winning All-Star clubs with the National League, losing only in Detroit in 1971. That year, Torre was the National League's Most Valuable player, won the batting title at .363 and drove in a league-high 137 runs for the Cardinals .

As a manager for the New York Yankees, Torre directed six American League All-Star squads and never lost, although he and Arizona's Bob Brenly ran out of players in 2002 in Milwaukee and that game wound up tied.

Torre has been an All-Star coach twice previously, in 1992 as Cardinals manager (the National League lost) and in 1998 as Yankees manager (the American League won). So, counting his two coaching assignments, six managerial stints and nine selections as a player, Torre is 14-2-1 in All-Star games.

This won't be Torre's first All-Star Game in St. Louis, however. In 1966, Torre, then with Atlanta, was the starting catcher in 105-degree heat here as the National League pulled out a 2-1 win when Torre's backup, Tim McCarver of the Cardinals , scored the winning run in the bottom of the 10th.

In all, Torre spent six seasons as a player in St. Louis (1969-74) and six more as a manager (1990-95). He told reporters last week in Philadelphia he did have to change the date for his sister's 80th birthday celebration that originally was scheduled for that week.

"It'll be fun," he said. "St. Louis is where I started growing up. It'll be nice going back there."

As manager of the team the Phillies beat for the National League title last year, Torre was in line anyway for a possible selection as a coach, let alone his dozen years with the Cardinals . Customarily, the manager of the host team also is picked to be an All-Star coach and Manuel reportedly asked Tony La Russa to be his other manager/coach. However, La Russa may be a little better than Torre at keeping a secret and isn't commenting on that potential selection.

If La Russa would be in line for a coaching spot, he no doubt would hope to last longer as manager of his team this season than did Jimy Williams of Houston, who was named a coach for the 2004 All-Star Game at Minute Maid Park - and then fired as Astros manager the next day.

A Torre-La Russa combination would break all kinds of records for most collective victories by two coaches on the same All-Star team. Between them, the two have won more than 4,650 games, with La Russa ranking third all-time and Torre sixth.

Despite the fact that none of Torre's six teams here made the playoffs, he was fired in 1995 with a record just three games under .500 at 351-354. And this with the likes of Rene Arocha, Vicente Palacios and Mark Petkovsek as key members of his rotations.

NEWS ITEM - Interleague play will begin next weekend when the Kansas City Royals come here for a three-game series, although ace Zack Greinke isn't scheduled to pitch. The Cardinals have all 15 of their interleague games this year with the American League Central Division, but with the All-Star Game, St. Louis fans likely will get two chances to see what may be the best 1-2 punch in Baseball.

HUMMEL'S TAKE - The Minnesota Twins haven't been here since 2001 for interleague play, well before the start of the careers of first baseman Justin Morneau and catcher Joe Mauer, but the Twins and those two stars will be here for a three-game set on June 26-28. Since Mauer got a belated start on his season because of back problems, the Twins have taken off. For his first 14 games this year, Mauer, a two-time American League batting champion, hit .431 with six homers. Morneau, meanwhile, had 12 homers and 32 RBIs in the first seven weeks.

In his last three seasons, Morneau has driven in 129, 111 and 130 runs. Mauer has won batting titles at .328 last year and .347 in 2006. And, regardless of Josh Hamilton's heroics in last year's All-Star Game Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium, Morneau would come here as the defending champion.

NEWS ITEM - Milwaukee catcher Jason Kendall, who bats eighth in the Brewers' lineup, enters Sunday's game needing just three hits for 2,000 in his career.

HUMMEL'S TAKE - Consider that just seven other players who have caught 1,000 or more games have had more hits than the underrated Kendall. If he has a bad season this year, Kendall, the former Pittsburgh and Oakland catcher who three times has had more than 180 hits, will pass Hall of Famer Johnny Bench (2,048 hits) and possibly Hall of Famer Gary Carter (2,092). Next year, he could surpass probable Hall of Famer Mike Piazza (2,127) and Hall of Famer Yogi Berra (2,150).

Kendall however doesn't have the power of the aforementioned players and, in fact, has had only nine homers since the start of the 2003 season. In 2005, he went homerless in 601 at-bats for Oakland.

NEWS ITEM - Outfielder Nick Stavinoha was the sixth player brought up by the Cardinals from Class AAA Memphis in the first six weeks of the season.

HUMMEL'S TAKE - Memphis manager Chris Maloney actually had the best take. Upon hearing the latest move, Maloney told a Memphis reporter, ''In the minor leagues, if the queen bee needs some honey, you've got to give it to her. That's the way it goes. You know that going in and you've just got to deal with it.''

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: May 17, 2009

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