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October 27, 1999

Joe Torre


Q. You've had a pretty good year all in all?

JOE TORRE: Yeah. I've had a pretty good four years here. You think when you stop playing and your career is over that, you know, you're starting to play the last few holes of a career, and then all of a sudden somebody opens another golf course. And there's a whole lot more ahead of you. I can't thank George Steinbrenner enough for the opportunity to do this. I know there were a lot of questions and my brother questioned me on my sanity as far as going to work and having to face abuse or whatever the hell you're supposed to face when you're managing in New York. I know one thing, it was an opportunity to get to a World Series I had never been to. And I'm sure happy I said yes.

Q. There was a lot of talk about the struggles that went on this year and especially with what happened to Paulie, which I'm sorry about. But also, your health problem, Sojo's dad, Brosius' dad. But they say struggles make -- people that go through struggles, it makes them stronger. Is that what gave the Yankees their extra edge?

JOE TORRE: There's no question there's something to that. It started in '96, David Cone went down with that aneurism, it shocked everybody, stunned everybody. You had a choice. You could either worry about it or play the season. And I think we got in the pretty good habit of dealing with whatever low lights there were, and, you know, tragedies and hardships and go out there and do the job that we're capable of doing. Let's see how good we are in spite of the odds against us. But, you know, tragedy's a part of life. Just because you're an athlete doesn't mean you're exempt. This is just unusual to have all these things happen at one time, to one club. I said to Paul O'Neill, he was crying as you can well imagine, I said your dad got to watch this one, because, you know, he's been laid up and not obviously being able to watch games on TV. And everyone, Luis and Scott and Paul were just all, as you can well imagine, their thoughts go to their dads.

Q. Can you talk about the job that Clemens did tonight and were you prepared to let him go up to the ninth if he hadn't gotten that play at the first?

JOE TORRE: I normally don't allow that. But I sure as well was going to let him go out the ninth inning and go one batter at a time. You don't like to give your closer no room to breathe. But then he was stepped on at first base, seemed to get out of whack a little bit, still threw the ball good. When I was out there and threw a few pitches, he had to be throwing 96. It was dynamite. I was prepared to send hem out there in the ninth with a three-run lead and take a bite at a time. I just thought it was a perfect way to end the World Series, the man coming over here to -- because he wanted a World Series ring. And we traded for him because we felt he was a good fit for our club. He didn't have the kind of year that he's used to having. I couldn't see it not happening today with the way his career has gone, and it just seemed like a perfect setup for us.

Q. With all that happened this year, all the things that went on, could this be the strongest locker room you were ever in, by the season's end?

JOE TORRE: There's no question this club was very, very special. I know I've said that about the other two actually, the other three clubs, but having to validate what we did last year, one of those freak years where you win everything and everything turns out well, I thought 11 out of 13 was good last year, then all of a sudden we zipped through the post-season, which is only done because you have ability and they know what to do with it. I was -- it was absolutely sensational to be able to accomplish what we accomplished this year. But no question this ballclub is very close. They respected each other. The other night in that All-Century night at Turner Field, it was very emotional for a lot of players watching the players, the old-time players out there, plus Roger. But once they cleared the field, they were screaming at each other to get the cobwebs out and get going and get ready to play this game. They're very businesslike, take nothing for granted and they grind every inning.

End of FastScripts…

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