In case you're viewing this on your phone and can't see it, let me post the picture before I move on to today's card.
There you go. I just have to say that this photo deserves to be in next year's Stadium Club product. But because Joe's smokin' a stogie it won't happen. And that's a shame because this photo oozes awesomeness. How awesome? I need this to be on cardboard. That's how awesome this photo is. I like it so much, I'd buy a t-shirt with it and the inscription "Joe Torre is my homeboy."
Okay, now on to today's card.
Hired by Ted Turner following the strike-shortened 1981 season, Joe Torre replaced another future Hall of Fame manager (Bobby Cox). Atlanta had shown promise in 1980- finishing 81-80- but then slipped to 50-56 during the final season of Bobby's first tenure. Not only did the Braves improve during Torre's first season, but they won the West- shocking the baseball world by going 89-73.
Joe, following his firing in October, 1984, stated that his first season in Atlanta might have been his downfall. "Probably the worst thing that happened to me was winning the first year we were here because you people's mouth watering for what's next, and we really never got to that next plateau," Torre said at a press conference after his firing.
Unfortunately, Topps didn't include a card of Joe in its 1982 Topps Traded set. So our first taste of manager Joe Torre came in the 1983 set.
Now, don't get me wrong, I do like Joe's '83 card. But it could have been so much better. Any one of these photos would have sufficed. And it was a different world, back then. A cigar-smoking manager didn't seem like such a bad thing.