COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Before he answered a question at the press conference following the Baseball Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony on Sunday, Joe Torre wanted to address someone he regrettably omitted from his speech.
The former Yankee manager briefly mentioned late owner George Steinbrenner, but forgot to thank him the way he planned.
“I missed mentioning and thanking the most obvious guy in the world when you talk about the Yankees,” Torre said. “It was so obvious that I was going to do it, I went right past it.”
Torre, who won four world championships at the helm of the Yankees from 1996 to 2007, said he felt “terrible” that he left Steinbrenner out of his speech. After being fired as manager from the Mets, Braves and Cardinals, Torre’s path to the Hall of Fame began with the Yankees.
Steinbrenner tabbed the then 55-year-old in November 1995, and Torre’s appreciation for the entire Steinbrenner family is ongoing despite his rocky departure from the team after the 2007 season.
Torre, who compiled a 1,173-767 record as Yankee manager, said neither side knew how to say goodbye.
“I mentioned George, but my plan was to thank him and the fact that we had a great relationship,” Torre said. “It was the proudest time in my whole career and I just feel terrible I omitted that.”
Torre said he knew how “The Boss” would have reacted: “He would’ve yelled at me, ‘You ungrateful such and such.’ ”
Returning to Yankee Stadium for a memorial honoring Steinbrenner in September 2010 helped mend the relationship between Torre and the team. On Sunday, Torre wanted to make sure his appreciation for the Steinbrenner family was clear.
“They made my whole professional life,” Torre said. “I had a good playing career and all that, but managing the Yankees – what you set out in baseball to do is get to the World Series. To have the opportunity to do that with George so many times was an incredible feeling.”
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said there are no hurt feelings in the Bronx.
“The Yankees are George. Everyone knows how much George appreciated Joe and how much Joe appreciated George. I don’t think there’s any issue,” Cashman told the New York Daily News. “It was a beautiful day, a wonderful day. This day was about celebrating Joe and his career. No worries. There are no issues. I wouldn’t predict there would be. I feel bad that he feels bad.”
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