The Stan Musial Lifetime Achievement Award for Sportsmanship is the pinnacle honor bestowed at the Musial Awards. It recognizes an iconic sports figure who exemplifies sportsmanship and whose career is defined by the class, dignity, generosity, excellence, civility and integrity synonymous with Stan the Man. The award’s selection committee includes representatives from the Musial Awards and St. Louis Sports Commission, and members of the Musial family. The recipient is presented a special sculpture of the Cardinals legend created by St. Louis artist Harry Weber entitled “Remembering Stan the Man.” Through the generosity of St. Louis-based Edward Jones, the Musial Awards is able to present this unique award. Together, we salute Joe Torre, one of the most respected personalities in sports, as the inaugural winner of the Stan Musial Lifetime Achievement Award for Sportsmanship.
Joe Torre stands as one of the greatest players, managers and people in baseball history.
As a player, Torre compiled some impressive stats. He had a .297 lifetime batting average with 2,342 hits, 252 home runs and 1,185 RBI. He was a nine-time All-Star during his stellar 17-year career and won the 1971 National League Most Valuable Player Award as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. Torre hit .363 that season with 230 hits, 24 home runs and a league-leading 137 RBI. What may be more impressive is who Torre beat out for the award. The top five vote-getters that season were Torre, Willie Stargell, Hank Aaron, Bobby Bonds and Roberto Clemente.
Although Torre was an outstanding player, he is probably more well-known for his legendary managerial career. After stints with the New York Mets, Atlanta Braves and Cardinals, Torre made history as manager of the New York Yankees. The Yankees made the postseason in each of the 12 seasons Torre served as their manager. The team won four World Series championships during Torre’s tenure, including a three-peat (1998-2000).
Torre’s managerial accolades are numerous. He ranks fifth all-time in managerial wins with 2,326. The Associated Press named him Manager of the Year in 1982 and 1998. The Baseball Writers Association of America named him American League Manager of the Year in 1996. He’s won four ESPY Awards for Manager/Coach of the Year (1997, 1999, 2000, and 2001).
Baseball’s story certainly can’t be told without Joe Torre, but his lasting legacy may be his work ensuring safety away from the diamond. He and his wife, Ali, launched the Safe at Home Foundation in 2002. The Foundation’s mission is educating to end the cycle of violence and save lives. Torre’s motivation behind starting Safe at Home came because of domestic abuse his mother suffered at the hands of his father.
The Safe at Home Foundation not only raises awareness of domestic violence, but also provides kids a safe place to go and get help. Margaret’s Place, named in honor of Torre’s mother, is a safe room at school where kids can speak to a trained counselor and receive help in dealing with domestic violence. The Margaret’s Place program currently serves kids in New York, New Jersey and California.
It is Torre’s commitment and leadership – on and off the field – that so impresses the Musial family. “It is such an honor to have Joe accept the very first Stan Musial Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Jean Musial Edmonds, Stan’s daughter. “Joe represents so many of the values my father embodied and I know my dad would be so proud to see their names connected through this award.” Torre continues to work in baseball as MLB’s executive vice president of baseball operations, but it is how he operates as a human being that has earned him this honor.
It is befitting that a man who wore No. 6 would be the first to win the Lifetime Achievement Award named in Stan Musial’s honor. There must be something great about that number.