A Biography in 1,000 Players No. 83 Joe Torre (Number 8 Catcher)

Joe Torre was elected to the Hall of Fame as a manager. I think Torre should have been elected years before. After all I have him as a top 10 catcher and a top 100 player. He also isn’t helped much with the catcher bonus, which is 20 percent bonus on most of a catcher’s total. However, catchers only get the bonus for percent of the bonus they actually played catcher.

Joe Torre played catcher for less than half of his career games. He, therefore, gets less than a 10 percent bonus. Since a catcher gets a bonus based on a percentage of points earned, you would think Torre would have close to the eighth highest bonus being the eighth greatest catcher. However, since he played so few games at catcher compared to others at the position, his bonus was only 55 points.

Joe Mauer who finished at 11th at catcher also played less than half his games at catcher. However, he played a higher percentage of games at catcher than Torre and he got a 62-point bonus. I thought Torre would get more catcher bonus points than Gene Tenace as Tenace finished well behind Torre in 21st place. However, Tenace played well over half his games at catcher and scored just under 60 bonus points. The highest rated player who I put at catcher was Victor Martinez who I rank 27th at catcher. He caught only 858 games at catcher and earned only 40 bonus points. He actually was a DH more than a catcher, but I didn’t rank players as DHs. Torre played catcher more than any other position.

Torre was a big story in 1971. In 1970 Torre played less at catcher then he normally did. It was to get a young Ted Simmons (then age 20) into the lineup. Torre hit a lot more in 1971 than he did the previous few years. It saves the legs from having to squat about 200 times a game. It appears from August 15th to the end of the season Torre played 3rd base regularly and he caught at most 5 games. He ended up the second-best hitter on the team after Dick Allen.

In the off-season Torre decided as he was turning 30 maybe he should lose some weight. The Cardinals decided to go with Simmons at Catcher and moved Torre to third. It all worked. Torre was a big story about losing his weight changing positions and hitting the ball like crazy. Torre hit .363 and drove in 137 runs to lead the league in both categories. He and Lou Brock, who scored 126 runs carried the Cardinals on offense. Torre was named MVP.

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