Haywood Sullivan

Haywood Cooper Sullivan (December 15, 1930 – February 12, 2003) was an American college and professional baseball player who was a catcher, manager, general manager and club owner in Major League Baseball. From 1978 through 1993, he was a general partner in the Boston Red Sox, where he reportedly parlayed a $200,000 investment into a $33 million cash out.

Haywood Sullivan
Haywood Sullivan 1961
Catcher
Born: December 15, 1930
Donalsonville, Georgia
Died: February 12, 2003 (aged 72)
Fort Myers, Florida
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 20, 1955, for the Boston Red Sox
Last MLB appearance
June 30, 1963, for the Kansas City Athletics
MLB statistics
Batting average.226
Home runs13
Runs batted in87
Managing record54–82 (.397)
Teams
As player

As manager

Career highlights and awards

Early years

Sullivan was born in Donalsonville, Georgia, and raised in Dothan, Alabama. He received an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where he was the starting quarterback for coach Bob Woodruff's Florida Gators football team in 1950 and 1951,[1] and a standout catcher for coach Dave Fuller's Gators baseball team in 1951 and 1952.

In his two seasons as the Gators' quarterback, Sullivan threw for 2,016 yards in an era when the emphasis was on a running offense.

As a Gators baseball player, he was named to the All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) team in 1952.

He threw and batted right-handed, stood 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 m) tall and weighed 215 pounds (98 kg).

Sullivan signed a guaranteed $45,000 bonus contract with the Red Sox in 1952, a contract which would not have been available a year later under pending baseball rules changes, and thereby ended his college football and baseball career after his junior year. He was later inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great."[2]

MLB catcher and manager

Sullivan's professional baseball playing career—derailed by military service (causing him to miss the 1953 and 1954 seasons) and back surgery that cost him the entire 1958 campaign—was largely confined to the minor leagues for its first eight seasons.

After three short stays and only eight total games played for the Red Sox (in 1955, 1957 and 1959), Sullivan finally made the big leagues in 1960. He was the starting backstop for Boston's first three games, including the then-traditional "Presidential Opener" at Washington's Griffith Stadium. However, Sullivan injured his hand in the third game of the season and struggled offensively afterward, hitting only .135 through June 13 and 36 games played. That day, the Red Sox acquired catcher Russ Nixon from the Cleveland Indians, and from then through the end of the campaign, Sullivan played only sparingly. He ended the season as Boston's second-most-used catcher, behind Nixon, with 50 games and 34213 innings caught. But he batted only .161 with four extra-base hits and was left exposed in the 1960 Major League Baseball expansion draft. The newly created edition of the Washington Senators franchise picked him up, then traded him to the Kansas City Athletics for pitcher Marty Kutyna in December 1960.[3]

Sullivan played for 2½ seasons with the Athletics, and was the club's semi-regular catcher in 1961 and 1962, starting 78 and 80 games behind the plate. In a three-game span against his former team, the Red Sox, at Municipal Stadium from July 12–14, 1962, Sullivan had seven hits in 11 at bats, with two home runs, although Boston won all three games.[4] For his MLB career, Sullivan batted .226 with 192 hits, 30 doubles and 13 home runs in 312 games over all or parts of seven seasons.[5]

In 1964, Sullivan was named manager of the Athletics' Birmingham Barons farm club in the Double-A Southern League. His team—the first integrated team in Birmingham[6]—missed the pennant by just one game, earning him a promotion to the Triple-A Vancouver Mounties of the Pacific Coast League in 1965. After only 25 games in Vancouver, Sullivan was called to Kansas City to manage the parent Athletics on May 16, 1965, succeeding Mel McGaha. At age 34, Sullivan was the youngest manager in Major League Baseball that season.[7] Kansas City had lost 21 of its first 26 games and was lodged in last place in the ten-team American League when McGaha was fired, and they remained in the cellar for the rest of the 1965 season, winning 54 and losing 82 (.397) under Sullivan.

Front office and ownership career

Role with 1967 pennant winners

In November 1965, he was recruited by the Red Sox, who had reorganized their front office under new general manager Dick O'Connell. As vice president, player personnel, Sullivan was positioned as the top "baseball man" in the organization, and from 1965 to 1967 was instrumental in acquiring several players from the Athletics (such as José Santiago, John Wyatt, José Tartabull and Ken Harrelson) who would help lead Boston to its surprise 1967 AL pennant. But O'Connell gradually assumed more power and took over most of Sullivan's responsibilities; Sullivan kept his title but in reality became the Red Sox' director of scouting after the 1973 death of Neil Mahoney.

Despite his decline in overall authority, Sullivan maintained very close personal ties with owner Tom Yawkey and his wife, Jean. In 1977, a year after Tom Yawkey died of leukemia, the Red Sox were put up for sale. Sullivan—reportedly borrowing $100,000 and using his home as collateral—joined an ownership group organized by former Red Sox athletic trainer Edward "Buddy" LeRoux. Because of Sullivan's close friendship with Jean Yawkey, the LeRoux offer was accepted, even though it was not the highest bid and the group did not have the financial resources of some of its rivals. The American League initially rejected the deal, but reconsidered when Mrs. Yawkey joined the group as a third general partner in 1978.[8]

Before the sale was consummated, in October 1977, Mrs. Yawkey fired O'Connell and promoted Sullivan to general manager. Overall, his first off-season as GM of the Red Sox was highly successful. Still using the resources of the Yawkey fortune, and benefitting from the depth of the Red Sox farm system that he helped to build, Sullivan acquired players Mike Torrez, Jerry Remy, Dick Drago, Tom Burgmeier and Dennis Eckersley. Buoyed by the new additions to an already strong team, the Red Sox charged into first place in the 1978 AL East race, but they would squander a 14½ game lead over the New York Yankees and then lose a one-game playoff for the division title to miss the playoffs completely. Although manager Don Zimmer is usually cast as the chief culprit for the collapse, Sullivan contributed to the debacle by dealing away useful players such as Bernie Carbo, Ferguson Jenkins, Jim Willoughby and Reggie Cleveland, who were considered to be "clubhouse lawyers." None of the players fetched comparable value, and the loss of pitching depth and bench strength was a critical factor in Boston's struggles.[9]

Post-1978 decline and the "Coup LeRoux"

Sullivan then further earned the wrath of Red Sox Nation after the 1978 season when he allowed legendary pitcher Luis Tiant to leave for the Yankees as a free agent and, as he had done with Jenkins, Carbo and the others, dumped a clubhouse dissident, lefty pitcher Bill Lee, in a giveaway trade—in this case, to the Montreal Expos. In 1979, he raised eyebrows when he selected his son Marc Sullivan, who was not considered to have early-round talent, in the second round of baseball's amateur draft; the younger Sullivan would bat a paltry .186 in parts of five major league seasons.[10]

In December 1980, Sullivan faced the imminent free agency of Rick Burleson, Carlton Fisk and Fred Lynn—Boston's starting shortstop, catcher and center fielder, and the "up the middle" core of the ball club. The three players, represented by agent Jeremy Kapstein, had been embroiled in a contract dispute with the team in 1976, the first year of free agency, and hard feelings still lingered between them, Sullivan and Mrs. Yawkey. Sullivan was able to trade Burleson for value (young third baseman Carney Lansford and relief pitcher Mark Clear), but then failed to mail contract offers to Lynn and Fisk by MLB's mandated deadline, triggering binding arbitration and unintentionally speeding their free agency. Sullivan was forced to accept fifty cents on the dollar for Lynn in a trade to the California Angels, and then lost Fisk outright when the arbitrator declared him a free agent.[11]

From then on, Sullivan's reputation in Boston was tarnished. He refused to enter the market for free agents, preferring to rely exclusively on player development, but the Boston farm system hit a dry spell resulting from poor drafts during Sullivan's tenure as GM; whereas O'Connell in 1976 alone had drafted Wade Boggs, John Tudor, and Bruce Hurst, the only starting player drafted and signed by the Red Sox between 1977 and 1979 was Marty Barrett. The Red Sox were also ridiculed for stinginess and ineptitude, with one sportswriter claiming that the team motto should have been "don't just do something; stand there!" The contending Bosox of the late 1970s were reduced to also-rans.

Sullivan's legacy received another battering in 1983 when a long-simmering estrangement from LeRoux became embarrassingly public. On June 6, just prior to a ceremony celebrating the Red Sox' 1967 AL championship, and raising money to care for stricken former outfielder Tony Conigliaro, LeRoux called a press conference to reveal that he and his limited partners had exercised a clause in their ownership agreement and taken control of the Red Sox. He fired Sullivan on the spot, and restored O'Connell—who hadn't set foot in Fenway Park since his dismissal in 1977—to the GM post. Boston sportswriters called the gambit "the Coup LeRoux." Sullivan and Mrs. Yawkey then immediately called their own press conference to announce they had filed suit to prevent the takeover.[12] A court granted them an injunction, and in a public 1984 trial that aired dirty laundry on both sides, Sullivan and Yawkey won the day again.

From GM to CEO/COO

But the damage had been done. Sullivan voluntarily gave up his general manager duties to Lou Gorman in June 1984, immediately after the court victory over LeRoux, and became the team's chief executive and chief operating officer. Gorman received credit for trades that helped the 1986 Red Sox win the AL championship, although Sullivan's determination to build from within helped to furnish the club with many of its key players.

During Sullivan's tenure as general manager and chief executive, the Red Sox, with their history as the last pre-expansion MLB team to break the color line, were again criticized for institutional racism. Fans and media noted the Red Sox' relative lack of African-American and Latin-American players. In a 1985 public relations disaster, the team was sued by former outfielder and coach Tommy Harper, an African-American. Harper was fired as a minor league base-running instructor after he complained to the media about the club's practice of allowing the all-white Elks Club of Winter Haven, Florida (where the team held spring training) into the Red Sox clubhouse to invite white players and front-office personnel to the Elks' segregated facilities.[13] Harper's complaint was upheld by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on July 1, 1986. (Moreover, the city of Boston itself was painted as racist after the violence surrounding its school desegregation of the 1970s and incidents such as the Charles Stuart affair in the late 1980s.) When the Red Sox re-entered the free agent market late in the 1980s, they were able to sign All-Star catcher Tony Peña, but many nonwhite players ignored the Red Sox in free agency, or included them on their "no trade" lists. This trend began to change when the Red Sox bid aggressively (but unsuccessfully) for Kirby Puckett after the 1992 season.

In late March 1987, Jean Yawkey bought out LeRoux and, with two general partnership shares, she became the Red Sox' managing partner. Sullivan and Mrs. Yawkey grew distant, and, although he still held a general partnership in the team, by the late 1980s Sullivan was consistently outvoted 2–1 by Mrs. Yawkey's two general partnership shares. (Sullivan's title of CEO/COO, meanwhile, quietly was removed from the team's masthead.) When Mrs. Yawkey died in 1992, Sullivan and her representative, John Harrington, who headed the JRY Trust, each vowed to buy the other out.[14] On November 23, 1993, Harrington made good his word, acquiring Sullivan's share in the team on behalf of the trust for a reported $33 million.

Life after baseball

Sullivan then retired to the Gulf Coast of Florida, where he operated a marina and invested successfully in real estate, his name occasionally popping up (usually linked with former Commissioner of Baseball Fay Vincent)[15] as a potential part-owner of another Major League club. Upon Sullivan's death at age 72 in Fort Myers, Florida, after suffering a stroke, Boston baseball observers such as Peter Gammons took a fresh view of Sullivan's impact on the Red Sox and gave him renewed credit for building the team into contenders, and keeping them there, from 1966 forward. He is interred at the Dothan City Cemetery.

Haywood Sullivan
Sullivan's tomb

He was named to the team's Hall of Fame in 2004.

See also

References

  1. ^ 2011 Florida Gators Football Media Guide Archived April 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 96, 148, 186 (2011). Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  2. ^ F Club, Hall of Fame, Gator Greats. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  3. ^ Nats trade Sullivan for Marty Kutyna
  4. ^ 1962 regular season batting log from Retrosheet
  5. ^ Haywood Sullivan Statistics - Baseball-Reference.com
  6. ^ Southern League, Larry Colton, Grand Central Publishing, 2013, ISBN 1455511889
  7. ^ Charlie Finley: The Outrageous Story of Baseball's Super Showman, p.92, G. Michael Green and Roger D. Launius. Walker Publishing Company, New York, 2010, ISBN 978-0-8027-1745-0
  8. ^ Gammons, Peter (May 24, 1978). "Red Sox Sold to Group Led by Jean Yawkey". The Boston Globe. Retrieved July 2, 2018.
  9. ^ Gross, Jane (June 4, 1984). "A Proud Club's Troubled Times". The New York Times. Retrieved July 24, 2017.
  10. ^ Marc Sullivan career statistics: https://www.baseball-reference.com/s/sullima02.shtml
  11. ^ Doyle, Paul (February 13, 2003). "Sullivan, Former Sox Owner, Dies at 72". The Hartford Courant. Retrieved July 2, 2018.
  12. ^ Scoggins, Chaz (January 13, 2008). "The Rise and Fall of Buddy LeRoux". The Lowell Sun. Retrieved July 2, 2018.
  13. ^ Margolick, David (March 23, 1986). "Boston Case Revives Past and Passions". The New York Times. Retrieved July 3, 2018.
  14. ^ Margolick, David (April 26, 1992). "Red Sox Are the Subject of a Custody Battle". The New York Times. Retrieved July 24, 2017.
  15. ^ Gammons, Peter, "Reality – Instead of Disaster – Sets In", Boston Globe, December 12, 1994

Bibliography

  • Bryant, Howard, Shut Out: A Story of Race and Baseball in Boston. Boston: The Beacon Press, 2002.
  • Gammons, Peter, Beyond the Sixth Game. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Co., 1985.
  • Spink, C.C. Johnson, editor, The 1965 Baseball Guide. St. Louis: The Sporting News, 1966.
  • Stout, Glenn and Johnson, Richard A., Red Sox Century. Boston and New York: Houghton-Mifflin Co., 2000.
  • Obituary, The Boston Globe, February 13, 2003.

External links

Preceded by
Jean Yawkey
Owner of the Boston Red Sox (with Jean Yawkey September 30, 1977 – February 26, 1992 and Buddy LeRoux September 30, 1977 – March 31, 1987)
September 30, 1977 – February 26, 1992
Succeeded by
JRY Trust
Preceded by
Franchise re-established
Birmingham Barons manager
1964
Succeeded by
John McNamara
Preceded by
Franchise re-established
Vancouver Mounties manager
1965
Succeeded by
Bobby Hofman
1950 All-SEC football team

The 1950 All-SEC football team consists of American football players selected to the All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) chosen by various selectors for the 1950 college football season. Kentucky won the conference.

1950 Florida Gators football team

The 1950 Florida Gators football team represented the University of Florida during the 1950 college football season. The season was Bob Woodruff's first of ten as the new head coach of the Florida Gators football team. Woodruff was a former college football player and assistant for coach Robert Neyland's Tennessee Volunteers, who made his name as an up-and-coming young head coach leading the Baylor Bears for three seasons in the late 1940s. Like Neyland, Woodruff emphasized stout defense, the kicking game and a ball control offense. In Woodruff's first season of 1950, the Gators offense, led by quarterback Haywood Sullivan and offensive coordinator Frank Broyles, posted record numbers. Sullivan was the first sophomore in SEC history to throw for more than 1,000 yards in a season. He set nine school records. The highlights of the season included two Southeastern Conference (SEC) victories over the Auburn Tigers (27–7) and the thirteenth-ranked Vanderbilt Commodores (31–27)—the first season since 1940 in which the Gators won two or more SEC games. The Gators' twentieth ranking after the Vanderbilt game marked their first-ever appearance in the top twenty of the weekly Associated Press Poll. Woodruff's 1950 Florida Gators finished 5–5 overall and 2–4 in the SEC, placing tenth among twelve conference teams.Also of note, lights were installed at Florida Field during the summer of 1950, and the Gators opened the season with their first home night game, a 7–3 win over The Citadel.

1951 All-SEC football team

The 1951 All-SEC football team consists of American football players selected to the All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) chosen by various selectors for the 1951 college football season. Georgia Tech and Tennessee shared the conference title. The Associated Press selection had two platoons.

1960 Boston Red Sox season

The 1960 Boston Red Sox season was the 60th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished seventh in the American League (AL) with a record of 65 wins and 89 losses, 32 games behind the AL champion New York Yankees.

1960 Major League Baseball expansion draft

The 1960 MLB Expansion Draft was held by Major League Baseball on December 14, 1960, to fill the rosters of the Los Angeles Angels and the Washington Senators. The Angels and the Senators (who later became the Texas Rangers) were the new franchises that would enter the league in the 1961 season.

Each existing American League club had to make available for the draft seven players on their active roster on August 31, 1960, and eight others from their 40-man roster. The expansion clubs paid $75,000 for each of 28 players they drafted with a maximum of seven players drafted from each existing club, not including minor league selections. They were required to take at least ten pitchers, two catchers, six infielders, and four outfielders. The clubs also had the option of drafting one non-roster player for $25,000 from each established franchise.

1965 Kansas City Athletics season

The 1965 Kansas City Athletics season was the eleventh for the franchise in Kansas City and the 65th in its overall history. It involved the A's finishing 10th in the American League with a record of 59 wins and 103 losses, 43 games behind the American League Champion Minnesota Twins. The paid attendance for the season was 528,344, the lowest in the major leagues (and the lowest ever by the A's in Kansas City). The club won 59 games, their worst showing since the A's moved to Kansas City.

1979 Boston Red Sox season

The 1979 Boston Red Sox season was the 79th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished third in the American League East with a record of 91 wins and 69 losses, 11½ games behind the Baltimore Orioles.

1980 Boston Red Sox season

The 1980 Boston Red Sox season was the 80th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished fifth in the American League East with a record of 83 wins and 77 losses, 19 games behind the New York Yankees. Manager Don Zimmer was fired with five games left, and Johnny Pesky finished the season as manager.

1982 Boston Red Sox season

The 1982 Boston Red Sox season was the 82nd season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished third in the American League East with a record of 89 wins and 73 losses, six games behind the Milwaukee Brewers.

1983 Boston Red Sox season

The 1983 Boston Red Sox season was the 83rd season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished sixth in the American League East with a record of 78 wins and 84 losses, 20 games behind the Baltimore Orioles for the Red Sox' first losing season since 1966.

1984 Boston Red Sox season

The 1984 Boston Red Sox season was the 84th season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished fourth in the American League East with a record of 86 wins and 76 losses, 18 games behind the Detroit Tigers.

Buddy LeRoux

Edward Guy "Buddy" LeRoux Jr. (August 17, 1930 – January 7, 2008) was an American businessman and a club owner in Major League Baseball. LeRoux, a general partner in the Boston Red Sox from 1978 through 1986, became a successful businessman after beginning his sporting career as an athletic trainer for the Boston Celtics (during their championship runs in the 1950s and 1960s), the Boston Bruins and—from 1966 through 1974—the Red Sox themselves. A native of Woburn, Massachusetts, LeRoux graduated from Woburn Memorial High School and Northeastern University and was a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

JRY Trust

The JRY Trust (formerly JRY Corporation), is headed by John Harrington and was set up after the death of Jean Yawkey in 1992 due to her interest in the Boston Red Sox. The trust's interest was sold to John Henry and his group of investors in 2002.

Jean R. Yawkey

Jean Remington Yawkey (January 24, 1909 – February 26, 1992) was the wife of Tom Yawkey and owner of the Boston Red Sox from 1976 to her death in 1992.

She was born Jean Hollander in Brooklyn, New York. She grew up in Freeport, Long Island, and was a New York City fashion model for ten years before marrying Yawkey in 1944, in Georgetown, South Carolina.

List of Florida Gators baseball players in Major League Baseball

This list of Florida Gators baseball players includes former members of the Florida Gators baseball team that represents the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, who have played in one or more regular season Major League Baseball (MLB) games. The list includes such former Gators baseball players as David Eckstein, World Series Most Valuable Player, Al Rosen, former American League Most Valuable Player, and Haywood Sullivan, former managing partner of the Boston Red Sox.

List of Oakland Athletics managers

The Oakland Athletics are a professional baseball team based in Oakland, California. Before moving to Oakland in 1968, the team played in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from 1901 through 1954 and in Kansas City, Missouri from 1955 through 1967. The Athletics are members of the American League (AL) West division in Major League Baseball (MLB). In baseball, the head coach of a team is called the manager, or more formally, the field manager. The duties of the team manager include team strategy and leadership on and off the field. The team has employed 30 different managers in its history. The current Athletics' manager is Bob Melvin.The franchise's first manager was Hall of Famer Connie Mack, who managed the team for its first fifty seasons. Mack led the Athletics to nine AL championships and five World Series championships—in 1910, 1911, 1913, 1929 and 1930. The team lost the World Series in 1905, 1914 and 1931, and no World Series was played when the Athletics won the AL championship in 1902. After Jimmy Dykes replaced Mack as the Athletics' manager in 1951, no manager served more than three consecutive seasons until Tony La Russa, who became the Athletics' manager in 1986. During this period, Dick Williams managed the Athletics to two consecutive World Series championships in 1972 and 1973, and Alvin Dark managed the team to a third consecutive World Series championship in 1974. La Russa managed the Athletics to three consecutive AL championships from 1988 through 1990, winning the World Series in 1989.Connie Mack holds the Athletics' records for most games managed, 7,466; most wins as a manager, 3,582; and most losses as a manager, 3,814. Williams has the highest winning percentage of any Athletics manager, .603. Four managers have served multiple terms as the Athletics' manager. Connie Mack's son Earle Mack served as interim manager twice, in 1937 and 1939, when his father was ill. Hank Bauer served as the Athletics' manager from 1961 to 1962, and then again in 1969. Dark served as the Athletics' manager from 1966 to 1967 and again from 1974 to 1975. Jack McKeon started the 1977 season as the Athletics' manager, was replaced by Bobby Winkles after 53 games, and then replaced Winkles part way through the 1978 season. Five Athletics' managers have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame: Connie Mack, Lou Boudreau, Joe Gordon, Luke Appling and Williams. Mack and Williams were inducted into the Hall of Fame as managers. Boudreau, Gordon and Appling were inducted as players.

Marty Kutyna

Marion John "Marty" Kutyna (born November 14, 1932 in Philadelphia) is an American former right-handed pitcher in professional baseball. Kutyna spent three full seasons in Major League Baseball, pitching almost exclusively in relief. He stood 6 feet (1.8 m) tall, weighed 190 pounds (86 kg), and batted right-handed.

After graduating from North Catholic High School, he signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1953 and promptly won 17 and 18 games during his first two years in minor league baseball. But Kutyna never reached the Major League level with the Redbirds. Instead, he was part of a package of players that St. Louis swapped to the Cincinnati Redlegs on December 5, 1957, for young center fielder Curt Flood, who would go on to star on three pennant-winning Cardinal teams in the 1960s.

Kutyna toiled in the minors for nearly seven years before he finally reached the Majors on September 19, 1959, as a member of the Kansas City Athletics. He pitched the entire 1960 season for the Athletics, before being traded to the newly formed expansion edition of the Washington Senators for catcher and future Athletics manager Haywood Sullivan in December 1960.Kutyna would spend two full seasons (1961–62) with the Senators, appearing in 104 games. He made just six starts among his 50 games in 1961, but he threw a total of 143 innings. Overall, Kutyna was 14–16, with a 3.88 earned run average in 159 career games. He allowed 301 hits and 108 bases on balls in 290 innings pitched, with 110 strikeouts, eight saves and no complete games in six assignments as a starting pitcher.

His professional career ended with the 1963 season, which he spent as member of the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons.

Tony Torchia

Anthony Lewis Torchia (born December 13, 1943, in Chicago) is a former Major League Baseball coach and minor league player and manager. He was a left-handed throwing, right-handed batting first baseman who played 13 seasons in the minors. Originally signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers after playing for Miami Dade College, he was drafted by the Boston Red Sox after his rookie season, 1962, and he would spend 24 years in the Boston organization. Torchia played in 1,435 minor league games and batted .294 with 89 home runs.

Torchia holds the distinction of having been the only man who has served as a player, coach and manager of the Pawtucket Red Sox. After he retired as a player in 1974, he coached for the "PawSox" in 1975 (under skipper Joe Morgan). He then managed Boston farm clubs from 1976 to 1984, ranging from Class A to Triple A. His first team, the Winston-Salem Red Sox, won the 1976 Carolina League pennant. He skippered the Bristol Red Sox of the Double-A Eastern League for five seasons (1978–82), winning league titles in 1978 and 1981. Torchia returned to Pawtucket as the third manager in the club's Triple-A history in 1983. He spent two seasons there, winning the 1984 Governors' Cup, emblematic of the championship of the International League.

Torchia then was named bullpen coach for the Boston Red Sox in 1985, his only full campaign in Major League Baseball. He managed Boston's Double-A New Britain farm club in 1986 before leaving the organization for good. He later sued the Red Sox and co-owner Haywood Sullivan, claiming he was demoted and subsequently fired for seeking psychotherapy for depression in 1985.Beginning in 1987, Torchia coached and managed at the minor league level for the San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros and Montréal Expos.

His 1988 Riverside Red Wave, a San Diego affiliate, won the Class A California League championship. Torchia later managed the Asheville Tourists of the South Atlantic League in 1994, the Brevard County Manatees of the Florida State League in 2002, and finally the Mid-Missouri Mavericks in the independent Frontier League in 2003.

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