And truth be told, his skills as an in game strategist sometimes leaves a lot to be desired.
But I always felt his greatest strength was to keep outside problems out of the clubhouse, unite a team against distractions and keep the cart moving even as the dogs bark.
Well, let's just say he is earning every cent of his three year $13 million contract this year!
When the whole Manny thing exploded on May 7th, I said the NL West was going to get interesting and that Joe would have to work his magic.
So how have the Dodgers done since their biggest star was removed from the lineup, sending L.A. into turmoil and making the NL West wide open?
The Dodgers lost 4 of the first 5 games without Manny... and are 6-1 since.
Their 8 1/2 game lead (7 in the loss column) is more than twice as big as the next widest Division Lead.
They are winning with clutch pitching and timely hitting. And they are beating teams like the Phillies, Marlins and Mets... teams with talent.
In other words the team is focused.
And the team isn't saying "Woe is me, we lost Manny."
THAT is the value of Joe Torre.
Yes, he shouldn't have had Jeff Weaver pitch in the World Series game in 2003. But he's a Hall of Famer. I stand by that.
Even the Padres can see that as they are starting their fire sale early.
This West is all but won.