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Baseball honors Torre, Piniella, Gaston and Cox at winter meetings

December 7, 2010 |  9:26 am

Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig joined Joe Torre, Lou Piniella, Cito Gaston and Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz, who was pinch-hitting for Bobby Cox, at a press conference Tuesday morning to honor the four retiring managers. Among the highlights:

Piniella, in thanking the fans: "With a name like Lou, they can Lou you or boo you, so it doesn't affect you much."

Torre on managing the New York Yankees: "The media has been a little combative in my 12 years in New York ... but it was never boring."

Piniella on what he's going to do in retirement: "Right now I'm enjoying what I'm doing, which is nothing."

Torre, who guided the Yankees to four World Series titles from 1996 to 2000, on the three-year, $51-million contract Derek Jeter finalized with the Yankees on Tuesday: "I don't win those rings without Derek Jeter on my clubs. It's hard to believe the Yankees wouldn't want him back, and I know they were the only club he wants to play for. He's a special young man for me, and he's been a great role model for all the kids."

Torre, who grew up in Brooklyn during the heyday of the Dodgers-Giants rivalry in New York City, said the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry "was like nothing I've ever been involved in ... it was unrivaled." He then relayed a conversation he once had with a Red Sox fan in the elevator of the Yankees' team hotel in Boston, one that epitomized the intensity of the rivalry.

Fan: "You're Joe Torre, right?"

Torre: "Yes, I am."

Fan: "You're going to lose tonight."

Torre: "Well, yes, that could happen."

When the elevator door opened to the lobby, the fan turned to Torre and said: "If I had a choice between capturing Saddam Hussein and beating the Yankees, I'd take beating the Yankees."

-- Mike DiGiovanna in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.