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Joe Torre's New Book Rips Yankees

by Ryan Hudson

Joe Torre coached the New York Yankees from 1996-2007, winning four World Series in the process, before heading West to manage the Los Angeles Dodgers. Now, he's busy burning any and all bridges between him and the Bronx.

In a new book title "The Yankee Years," Torre ripped into his former team, bosses and even Alex Rodriguez.

...Torre gets most personal in his attacks against Alex Rodriguez, who he says was called "A-Fraud" by his teammates after he developed a "Single White Female"-like obsession with team captain Derek Jeter and asked for a personal clubhouse assistant to run errands for him ...

The book also reveals that, during spring training in 1999, team doctors revealed to owner George Steinbrenner that Torre had prostate cancer - even before informing the manager himself.

The 477-page tell-all, which The Post purchased from a city bookstore last week, is written by co-author Tom Verducci, a longtime Sports Illustrated reporter ...

Torre spent years trying to bring out a winning performance from A-Rod, the highest-paid player in baseball, which from all reported accounts included a lot of hand-holding and battling the insecurities and demons Rodriguez struggles with.

The reaction has been swift. Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post writes that Torre already has ruined his legacy.
Why, Joe?

Why would you soil your legacy this way, throw dirt on your reputation like this? Why would you do anything to crush our communal memory of what should be among the greatest eras in the history of sporting New York - the Joe Torre Era with the Yankees?

Why, Joe? Why would you take a blowtorch to that bridge? Why would you justify all the sinister things your enemies always hinted about you: that you were a champion grudge-holder, that the disparity between public pied piper and private grouch was considerable, that you were someone who'd do just about anything for a buck?

Did you really need the money this badly, Joe?

However, according to Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci, who co-authored the book, says the early reports are being taken out of context.
I can't comment on specific content of the book because it hasn't reached its publication date yet and there are contracts to honor. But like I said, it's important to understand the context of the book. The interviews with Torre were done specifically for the book but this is the result of hundreds of interviews with not only Torre but players, front office executives, executives of other teams, players on other teams. It's a 477-page book about 12 years of baseball history. Again, it's not a Joe Torre first-person book, so there's a lot of reporting that's presented in there in addition to Joe's insights.

Smart people will judge the book upon actually reading it and not reading preliminary reports prior to its publication. Once you understand the context of the book you understand the information. It's not a tell-all book. Anybody who reads it will understand that.

"The Yankee Years" is being published by Doubleday and is set for release on Feb. 3, 2009.