04/09/2004 1:25 PM ET
Torre gets three-year extension
Signs deal to manage Yankees through 2007
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com
|Joe Torre has guided the Yankees to four World Series championships in eight seasons. (Gregory Bull/AP)
NEW YORK -- Joe Torre came to Spring Training as a lame-duck manager, not knowing if this would be
his final year with the Yankees. Friday, Torre signed a contract extension that will keep him in pinstripes
for the rest of his career.
Torre inked a three-year, $19.2 million extension to manage the Yankees through the 2007 season. In
addition, Torre will remain with the organization after he steps down as manager, serving as a special
advisor. He will earn $6.1 million in both 2005 and 2006, and $7 million in 2007.
"There was a time last year when I wasn't sure if we were going to be here, if the Yankees wanted me
here," Torre said, sitting next to his wife, Ali, at a Yankee Stadium press conference. "It was settled quickly
in Florida, when George Steinbrenner walked into my office, sat down and said, 'What do you want to do
next year?' It caught me off guard. I told him I didn't know, and he said, 'Well, we want to have you back.'
That changed my mind in a hurry."
After saying during the offseason that he wouldn't seek a contract extension this season, Torre prepared to
go to Spring Training without a new deal. Once Steinbrenner expressed his interest in bringing him back
after 2004, Torre knew that he would get a deal done.
"When he walked into that room and sat down, I changed my mind in a hurry," Torre said. "The only thing
I wasn't sure about was whether I was going to be welcomed back. I didn't want to be here only because I'm
popular in New York and they were forced into it."
Steinbrenner appointed general partner Steve Swindal, his son-in-law, to handle the negotiations, as he and
Torre met sporadically throughout the spring. The two hammered out the final details of the deal on
Thursday, the day of the Yankees' home opener in the Bronx.
"The only thing I wasn't sure about was whether I was going to be welcomed back. I didn't want to be
only because I'm popular in New York and they were forced into it."
-- Joe Torre
"Initially, we were focusing on two years. When he floated a balloon about a third year, it didn't take long
for me to say yes," Swindal said. "Those years after he retires, we're going to be using him for advice and
counsel, use every bit of baseball knowledge that he has to plan successful teams. He's a valuable asset, and
to say he's going to be here for 10 years, it's great."
"Steve and Joe did a good job of getting this done," Steinbrenner said, standing outside of Torre's office.
"He's going to be here for a long while. That's good."
Torre was entering the final year of a three-year, $16 million contract that he signed after the 2001 World
Series. Although his contract only calls for him to manage through 2007, Torre said that it wasn't a done
deal that he would vacate the manager's office at that time.
"I'm guessing I will, but I'm sure we'll talk if it's still a lot of fun and we still have the energy that we have
right now," Torre said. "I'm looking at it as this is the last Major League team I'm going to be with. I'm very
proud to say that."
In eight-plus years as the Yankees' manager, Torre has compiled a 789-508 record, leading New York to
six American League pennants and four World Series titles. Torre's Yankees have made it to the postseason
in each of his eight seasons. He is only the fifth manager in Yankees history to win at least 700 games,
joining Joe McCarthy, Casey Stengel, Miller Huggins and Ralph Houk.
Torre recently said that of all of his accomplishments over the past eight years, the one that stands out for
him is winning 14 consecutive World Series games, which his Yankees did from Game 3 of the 1996 Fall
Classic through Game 2 of the 2000 World Series.
In all, Torre's World Series record of 21-11 ranks him second among managers appearing in at least three
World Series in terms of winning percentage (.656), trailing only McCarthy. Torre's 21 World Series game
victories rank fifth all-time.
Torre fell short of the Hall of Fame as a player, but he will surely be welcomed to Cooperstown when he
hands in his final lineup card. Only McCarthy (7), Stengel (7) and Connie Mack (5) have won more titles
than Torre, who is a virtual lock to make the Hall of Fame as a manager.
"The Hall of Fame has never been a priority for me, but it would be a tremendous honor," Torre said. "It's
something that isn't in my control, so I don't give it a lot of thought."
As recently as February, Torre wasn't sure if he'd be back beyond the 2004 season. Now he'll be with the
organization for the next decade.
"This is a great organization, history-wise, to be associated with," Torre said. "With the success we've had,
I'm always going to be associated with this organization, so I thought it was a good fit."
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.