Sports

Yankees Honor Old Timers

View Comments
Berra, Larsen (Bill Kostroun/AP Photo)

Berra, Larsen (Bill Kostroun/AP Photo)

By HOWIE RUMBERG,  AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK (AP) _ Joe Torre sat at a microphone wearing pinstripes
for the first time in nearly four years, Yankees cap resting
precariously high on his head as it had for 12 seasons, and blurted
out the answer to a question before it was finished being asked.

“No, I’m not doing that!” the 70-year-old Torre said Sunday,
as he was being asked whether he had any desire to follow
80-year-old Jack McKeon back to the manager’s chair.

Lou Piniella, who joined Torre as a first-timer at the 65th
Yankees Old Timers’ Day, was equally emphatic about being satisfied
with his decision to retire from his job as a big league manager.

He called it quits as skipper of the Chicago Cubs last summer.

One newcomer to the annual day of Yankees nostalgia still isn’t
officially retired, even though he’s successfully moved on as a
Latin Grammy-nominated guitarist. Bernie Williams, the center
fielder on four World Series title teams under Torre, hasn’t played
since the Yankees refused to offer him a big league contract for
the 2007 season.

“I think it’s closer now,” the 42-year-old Williams said with
a laugh.

Torre retired as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers after 2010
and is now the executive vice president of operations for Major
League Baseball. He’s spent plenty of time around the Yankees this
season, and planned trips to Chicago and Cincinnati with hopes to
witness Derek Jeter’s 3,000th before the Yankees shortstop was
injured.

“The losses got too tough to deal with,” Torre said of his
decision to give up managing.

But the beloved Brooklynite who led New York to the playoffs in
each of his 12 seasons as manger was still excited enough Sunday
that he woke up at 5 a.m.

“Just putting it on it felt good,” Torre said of donning the
uniform. “Taking it off was quite emotional in ’07.”

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.

Torre jogged onto the field during pregame festivities wearing
No. 6 without the sling he was using earlier to protect his
surgically repaired right shoulder. He waved and blew kisses to all
parts of the ballpark as fans feted him with the longest and
loudest ovation –about 2 minutes –during the introductions of
dozens of popular Yankees from different eras.

Several of his former players also received sustained ovations,
with Williams receiving chants of “Bernie! Bernie!” for more than
a minute. Williams was cheered when ran out to center field, his
position for 16 seasons, and when he jogged into second base with a
double.

Calls of “Louuuu” rang out for Piniella when he ran onto the
field in his Yankees uniform for the first since 1988, his last
with New York.

“I haven’t been home in what, 20 years, so it’s been special,”
Piniella said.

Wearing the uniform, though, did little to persuade him to think
about another job, especially after McKeon became interim manager
of the Florida Marlins last week after Edwin Rodriguez quit.

“I saw where Jack McKeon took a job at 80. I feel like a
youngster,” the 67-year-old Piniella joked. “My managing career
is over.”

A few hours later, 68-year-old Davey Johnson was announced as
manager of the Washington Nationals for the rest of the season.

Longtime Yankees trainer Gene Monahan threw out the ceremonial
first pitch after a video tribute. He’ll be retiring after 49 years
with the organization at the end of the season.

Mariano Rivera escorted Monahan to the first base line, giving
him several pats on the back along the way. Monahan then took a
spot at the base of the mound and threw a perfect strike to Jorge
Posada, who donned his catching gear for the first time in 2010.

The Yankees presented Monahan with several gifts, including a
replica of the famed frieze that hung over his locker at the old
Yankee Stadium and a riding lawn mower. The players then greeted
Monahan on the field and gave him a Ford pickup truck.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,095 other followers