NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — It was Old Timers’ Day at Yankee Stadium, but for about two minutes on Sunday it felt more like Joe Torre Day.
Torre jogged onto the field during pregame festivities wearing No. 6. He waved and blew kisses to all parts of the ballpark as fans feted him with the longest and loudest ovation during the introductions of dozens of all-time Yankees from different eras.
“Every time I thought it was going to quiet down, somebody picked back up,” Torre told the New York Post. “Maybe I had family all over this place that were starting these chants.”
The beloved Brooklynite who led New York to the playoffs in each of his 12 seasons as manager was excited enough Sunday that he woke up at 5 a.m.
“I’ve been looking forward to this,” he said. “I knew this day was going to happen at some point. The fact that I retired from managing, all of a sudden I’m available. I’ve been invited to Old Timers’ games before but I’d been working. The last couple of years I was invited but I couldn’t come obviously because I was managing the Dodgers. So I knew this day would come.”
He added: “I’d been looking forward because nobody ever does these things like the Yankees. The Yankees have done it for years. Other clubs did it for a time but the Yankees continue to do it and it’s always a very special day.”
Torre walked away from the Yankees after 2007, insulted by a contract offer that included bonuses for advancing in the postseason, and then wrote a book, “The Yankee Years,” that caused a stir in the organization. On Sunday, he said any hard feelings were resolved when he returned for the memorial for the late owner George Steinbrenner last year.
“Just putting it on, it felt good,” said Torre. “Taking it off was quite emotional back in ’07, knowing at the time that I wasn’t going to do this anymore. I don’t like to dwell on stuff, but I certainly did feel differently when I put it on today. It’s something I haven’t done in a long time, and it’s obviously the uniform that meant the most to my career.”
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