Frank Torre: 1931-2014

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Sad news to pass along this afternoon, as former major league first baseman Frank Torre has passed away at the age of 82.

The older brother of Joe Torre, Frank played with the Milwaukee Braves from 1956-1960 and was on the team that beat the Yankees in the World Series in 1957. After spending the 1961 season with the Vancouver Mounties of the Pacific Coast league, he played two final seasons in the majors with the Phillies from 1962-1963. Known more for his defensive contributions, Torre had a .273/.349/.372 batting line with 13 home runs and 179 RBI over 714 games in the majors.

Torre became an executive with Rawlings sporting goods after his playing career. Most younger fans got to know him when his quest for a heart transplant became a major story while his brother Joe was managing the Yankees against the Braves during the 1996 World Series. One day after the transplant, he watched in his hospital bed as the Yankees won the series in six games. While he later needed a kidney transplant from his daughter Elizabeth in 2007, he ended up living nearly 18 more years.

Here’s a statement from MLB commissioner Bud Selig, who was close with Torre:

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of Frank Torre, a close friend for nearly 60 years and a man who marked the start of a great baseball family. Before my career in baseball began, Frank and I formed a friendship that endured for decades, and I was touched to speak with him yesterday. Some of the fondest memories of my life involve Frank’s Milwaukee Braves teams from 1956-1960, and his great play in the 1957 Fall Classic was one of the keys to bringing the World Series Championship to my hometown. Frank’s longtime support of the Baseball Assistance Team, which helps the members of the baseball family who are in need, was an illustration of how much he cared about our game and the people who are a part of it.

On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to Frank’s children and grandchildren, to Joe and Ali Torre, to Frank’s sisters and to his many friends and admirers throughout our game.”