09/11/09 11:16 PM ET
Torre, Jeter form mutual admiration society
Yankees' ex-skipper 'tickled' by milestone accomplishment
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
Together, they became the biggest stars on the biggest stage in baseball and Yankees legends along the way.
On Friday, Jeter stood alone, but his former manager was with him.
With a single to right field in the third inning against Baltimore at Yankee Stadium, Jeter passed Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig to become the franchise's all-time leader with 2,722 hits.
Torre, on the West Coast managing the Dodgers against the Giants, is almost two seasons removed from his days in the Bronx, but there is no denying there is still a connection to the Yankees star.
"What can you say? I'm tickled for him," Torre said. "When you start saying names like Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, guys like that, it's pretty amazing."
"Amazing" is one way to describe Jeter. "Consistent," "clutch" and "winner" are others.
Torre would agree.
"This kid came with his 'A' personality all the time," Torre said. "His competitive [fire] just never stopped. That's something you have to admire."
That's because Jeter will be forever known as Torre's most famous captain, his team leader and one of the driving forces behind all those championships. For his part, the shortstop is famous for referring to his former skipper as "Mr. Torre," even after all these years of friendship.
The dynamic duo has come a long way. In 1996, Jeter was a 21-year-old rookie and Torre was in his first year managing the Yankees. They won titles together, became friends and eventually evolved into peers in the decade that followed.
And although they don't speak as often as they used to, the power of a text message is not lost on the pair.
Torre said he would send a congratulatory text or phone call when Jeter picked up the hit that moved him past the Iron Horse in the history books, and joked that he hoped Jeter would pick up.
But he won't be hurt if he doesn't get a call back. "How r u?" and "Congrats" are sometimes enough between old friends.
"Back in the beginning, I had no idea he'd be doing things Gehrig did," Torre said. "Anything Lou Gehrig did was out of sight for anybody. Even with his abbreviated numbers, a guy who played every day like that. It's tough to do that anymore. Players rarely stay with one team for their careers."
Jeter has gone on record saying that there has been no bigger influence on his professional development than Torre. He once said that it was a privilege to be around him and an honor to learn the game from him.
Today, there is little doubt that the feeling is mutual.
Jesse Sanchez is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.