LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- George Steinbrenner may not have made the Hall of Fame, but Joe Torre knows he wouldn't be getting in without The Boss.
"He made my professional career," Torre said Monday. "I played for 18 years. The only thing that meant anything to me was the World Series. To be able to do it and repeat. It is never the same. You always do it a different way and you do it with different people. To have George give me that opportunity, even when I said goodbye that day in his office [in 2008] and he was failing somewhat, he is the first one I went over and said goodbye to. He had tears in his eyes and I did, too. It was just one of those things, it was time to go away, but I had a great relationship with him."
Torre said he did not obsess about getting in, but it hit him "like a sledgehammer" when he found out.
"Sometimes you believe what you hear," Torre said. "People said, 'Don't worry about it.' 'Yeah, that is what they said when I was up 3-nothing against the Red Sox. Don't worry about it.' You hope. You hope. I saw the committee. It is not that the committee are friends of mine, but the committee are baseball people. Again, if it didn't happen, I would've respected their decision. Like I said, I never obsessed about it. It wasn't until I was told and I was congratulated about being in, did it really hit me."
Bernie Williams was among the first former Yankees to congratulate Steinbrenner on Twitter.
Congrats Joe Torre on election to @baseballhall of Fame. Joe It was a privilege & honor to play for you all those years. So well deserved!
— Bernie Williams (@bw51official) December 9, 2013