Atlanta Braves Top 10 Managers in History:: Number 9 Joe Torre
Onward but not Upward
The Atlanta Braves started 1983 in what looked like a replay of 1982. Torre’s team took 13 of the first 16 and finished April 14-5, a half-game up in the division. They remained on top until slipping into second place after losing to Houston on May 5,
The early difference between 1982 and 1983 was their play in June. The Braves went 16-13 in June, good for a .552 W/L%, but it wasn’t the 18-9 boost they received in 1982. They improved towards the end of the month and took the division lead on July 4.
Atlanta remained in first through July, and after beating the Giants on August 4, they were 25 games over 500 at 67-42, the first time the franchise reached that mark since the Milwaukee Braves finished 30 games over on September 28, 1968.
On August 15, the Atlanta Braves lost their cleanup man Bob Horner to a wrist injury. The Braves kept their division lead until August 28, when they slipped a half-game back of the Dodgers. Missing Horner’s bat. The Braves posted an 11-16 September. The club finished the year with one less win than 1982 at 88-74, but four games behind the Dodgers in second.
Torre’s team started 1984 slowly. They finished 9-12 in April but clawed their way back over 500 in May and grabbed first for seven days in June. The team had no break-out months like the ones that pushed them within striking distance in the last two years.
The lineup lacked punch; apart from Murphy and Washington, no one slugged over Hubbard’s .380 or hit more than nine home runs. Fortunately, the pitching was good enough to help to an 80-82 finish.
Baseball’s standard operating procedure dictated that someone had to go, and since John Mullen wasn’t going to fire himself, he fired Torre.
Torre moved into the broadcast booth in 1985 and stayed until Whitey Herzog resigned 104 games into the 1990 season. Torre’s team posted a winning 331-327 record from 1991 through the strike season of 1994 but never finished in the money.
The Cardinals fired him 47 games into the 1995 season, and Atlanta Braves fans know what happened in New York over the next 11 seasons, and in his three seasons with LA.
That’s a wrap
In 1985, the Atlanta Braves realized John Mullin wasn’t the answer as GM and brought back the man Torre replaced as field manager in 1982 as their general manager, Bobby Cox.
We’ll never know what might have happened had Richards kept Torre in ’68, or the Braves had not fired him in 1985. We do know that Torre posted winning records throughout his career as a manager and was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a manager in 2014.