Mike Scioscia

Joe Torre with Mayor Giuliani

Tommy Lasorda

Joe Torre
Joe Torre leads the New York Yankees to first of four World Series championships - the Italian American baseball managers fraternity including Tommy Lasorda, Tony LaRusso, Joe Altobelli, Yogi Berra, and Mike Scioscia.

For Joe Torre, the road to managerial success was not immediately evident as reflected in his first managerial assignment as New York Mets manager from 1977-1981. From 1982-1984, he managed the Atlanta Braves and led them to their first Division title in 13 years. He managed the St. Louis Cardinals from 1990-1995 and followed that with a stint as in broadcasting. He returned to managing in 1996 -this time for the New York Yankees where he would re-write the record books by leading the team to four World Series titles between 1996-2000, winning the event three consecutive times. Torre was voted the Manager of the Year in 1997 and 1999. Most baseball experts predict quick entry for Torre into the Baseball Hall of Fame both for his managerial leadership and for his playing days when he was one of the most feared hitters in the game. But Joe Torre was not the first Italian American to excel as a major league baseball manager; rather, he is one in a long and rich tradition.

The World Series victory of the Anaheim Angels in 2002 propelled Mike Scioscia into the extraordinary constellation of Italian American baseball managers who have guided their teams to the pinnacle of success in the national pastime. The first Italian American to manage a big league team was Phil Cavaretta who led the Chicago Cubs in 1951. The first of his ethnic background to manage a major league baseball team -the Los Angeles Dodgers --to a World Series victory was Tommy (Thomas) Charles Lasorda. Born in 1927 in the Little Italy section of Norristown, Pennsylvania, Lasorda's baseball career included playing mostly on Los Angeles Dodgers farm teams, becoming a scout, minor league manager, coach of the Los Angles Dodgers until 1977 when he was made manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Lasorda's method, an emotional, wheedling, cajoling leadership style resulted in success in his first managerial assignment in the big leagues as he promptly won two National League titles. Then came the 1981 season when his team won the World Series, an achievement repeated in 1988. Beyond the baseball diamond Lasorda enjoys a level of popularity that renders him a major celebrity. He is popular on the speaker's circuit, has been featured in advertisements and various promotional activities, and is an on-going favorite of Italian American organizations as illustrated by his role as grand marshal of major Columbus Day parades. At the request of the Italian Baseball Federation he also returned to his father's birthplace to instruct baseball coaches.

In 1983 Joseph Salvatore Altobelli led his Baltimore Oriole Baseball team to World Series victory over Philadelphia Phillies. Born in 1932 in Detroit, mild-mannered Altobelli cleverly utilized a team that was blessed with fine talent. (Tony) Anthony LaRussa Jr., the grandson of Sicilian immigrants, and an anomaly in the world of baseball -the only current manager with a law degree --has become a highly respected baseball mind. He was named manager of the Chicago White Sox in 1979 and proceeded to transform it into a winning enterprise as illustrated by the Chicago White Sox championship in the World Series in 1989.

A product of "The Hill" St. Louis, Missouri's Little Italy, Yogi (Lawrence Peter) Berra was not only one of baseball's finest catchers, but also a remarkably successful manager. Following his Hall of Fame active career as a player, in 1964 Berra became manager of the New York Yankees and led them to an American League pennant. In 1972 he became New York Mets manager leading the team to a National League pennant, thereby becoming the only manager to win pennants in both leagues. Knowledgeable baseball people were certain that Mike Scioscia was destined to be a major league manager. As a product of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, a star player and a successful manager of farm teams in the organization, he was expected to lead a Dodger team until an ownership change led him to the Anaheim Angels. Becoming manager in 1999, he had a special talent of causing struggling players to believe in themselves thus turning the franchise around culminating in the World Series victory in 2002.

Yogi Berra
Yogi Berra

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