Joe Torre nearly had a Hall of Fame-caliber career as a player before becoming the renowned skipper of the New York Yankees. His four World Series titles in five seasons cemented a trip to Cooperstown as well as becoming a perennial fan favorite. Highlighting the key Joe Torre cards, this list will serve as a guide to building a comprehensive collection encompassing both Torre's playing and managerial career.
Joe Torre holds the distinction of being the only person in baseball history to have more than 2,000 hits as a player and 2,000 victories as a manager. A career that amazing leads to a lot of noteworthy cards and several options did not make the list, but are still worth pointing out. Torre's 1964 Topps Stand Ups card, which is like the 1934-1936 Batter Up set, can be folded so that the the player's photograph pops out from the card. 1977 Topps features Torre's final card as a player after 18 seasons.
Offering more choices, 2001 Topps features a painted card that showcases Torre alongside a Hall of Fame manager for the Yankees and Mets, Casey Stengel. Torre was also included in the 2005 Topps Rookie Cup set and collectors can piece together a rainbow of parallels of his base card.
Torre managed five teams over his 30 seasons on the bench and Topps has at least one card for every team he coached. For his time with the Mets, look to 1978 Topps, and for the Braves, check out the 1984 Topps set. 1992 Topps features a Torre Cardinals card and you can find many parallels of his base card a the Dodgers skipper in 2009 Topps. Check item #7 on the list for a great Torre card for the Yankees.
Joe Torre's baseball career stretches from 1960 through today as he still serves as MLB's chief baseball officer. That translates into a lot of baseball cards and the list of the top Joe Torre cards was constructed with card value as a key component, along with a desire to make a list that covers the entirety of Torre's baseball legacy.
Top 10 Joe Torre Baseball Cards
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These embossed cards were inserted into packs of 1965 Topps and the players portraits are raised and slightly three-dimensional. In an era before penny sleeves, cards were easily damaged if they were were handled a little too roughly. National League players, like Torre, were featured with red backgrounds and American League players were in blue.
1971 was certainly Joe Torre's career year and his level of dominance had him hitting better than some of the greatest of all-time. As you can see from his 1972 Topps leaders card, Torre led the National League with 137 RBI, which was 12 more than Willie Stargell and 19 more than Hank Aaron. Torre was also named the 1971 NL MVP and earned one his nine All-Star appearances.
Interestingly enough, Torre ended up coaching for each of the teams he played for (Mets, Braves, and Cardinals), which brings up an interesting conundrum when trying to find the perfect relic from his playing or coaching days. How can you be sure which era the jersey is from? 2003 Leaf Certified offers relics from Torre's playing days with the Braves and you can be certain of that as Leaf included a photograph of the jersey that was used to create the card on the reverse side.
Joe Torre redeemed himself as a manager with his amazing performance as the Yankees' skipper. He brought 12 seasons of stability to a Yankee bench that had seen a steady of stream of managers in the 1980s and 90s. Torre has several cards as manager of the Yankees but he made his first appearance in a Topps set as the team's manager in 2001 Topps.
Like the 1961 Post set, these 1962 cards were found on the backs of Post cereal boxes. Condition is certainly always a consideration with the Post cereal sets as kids frequently grabbed a pair of scissors and went to town on the cereal boxes, resulting in many damaged cards. Cards that ended up being printed on unpopular cereal brands have also led to scarcity with some cards in this set.
The 1964 Topps Giants set was the first time Topps issued postcard-size cards and the larger size and close-up photography make for a particularly beautiful card. Some cards are short-printed in the set (including the Sandy Koufax and Willie Mays cards) but otherwise it offers a reasonably priced option for many Hall of Fame members.
Joe Torre's second rookie-year card in the 1962 Topps set is shared with another Braves prospect, Del Crandall. As you might suspect from the card, both Torre and Crandall were in competition for the full-time catching job. The competition was short-lived, however, as Crandall was traded to the Giants after the 1962 season and Torre became the starting backstop.
With his success, Torre earned a cult status among New York Yankees fans and certified autographs featuring Torre in his Yankee pinstripes are some of his most valuable cards. The design from Upper Deck's 2003 Yankee Signature Series set offers an attractive design with plenty of space for the autograph.
1963 Topps gave us Joe Torre's second-year card and it is a great place to start if you are on a limited budget. The set is a considered one of the best from the decade and won't set collectors back much, even in high grade.
Torre's rookie card in the 1962 Topps set features the legendary All-Star Rookie Cup logo honoring his performance during the 1961 season. That year, he was second in the Rookie of the Year voting and even received some MVP votes as well. Near-mint graded copies of this card can go for well over $100.