By Dean Chiungos / MLB.comGrowing up in Brooklyn in the 1940s and '50s, Joe Torre was a die-hard Giants fan who detested two of the teams he would manage later in life: the Dodgers and the Yankees.
Torre was a 17-year-old high school student attending St. Francis Prep School when the Dodgers and Giants left New York for the West Coast after the 1957 season. In that same season, his brother Frank, a first baseman for the Milwaukee Braves, found himself going up against Yankees in the World Series.
Torre's mom Margeret took the first flight of her life to Milwaukee to see Frank play in the Fall Classic. During an appearance on "The Today Show," she was asked, as Joe recalled, to name her favorite player.
"Gil Hodges," came the honest reply, referencing the Dodgers' beloved first baseman.
While Margaret revered Hodges and Italian-American catcher Roy Campanella, Joe shied away from the Dodgers to cheer for the Giants.
"He probably booed me at Ebbets Field," said a bemused Don Newcombe, Brooklyn's ace of that time.
"It's part of why I took the job," Joe Torre told the Los Angeles Times earlier this year. "It's one of the storied franchises. I certainly remember growing up with [Duke] Snider and [Pee Wee] Reese and [Carl] Furillo and Campy and Jackie [Robinson] in 1947 and thereafter. Jackie -- you probably hated him more than anybody because every time he was in a rundown play, nobody ever tagged him out."
Torre's legacy in baseball has grown to the level of those '50s legends, while his calm managerial style and on-field success have placed him among the game's most popular figures. His four World Series championship rings with the Yankees endeared him to millions of Bronx Bomber fans, and even after his departure a year ago for L.A., he remains loved and respected in New York and baseball towns throughout the country.
Of course, when he's back in New York, Torre still finds time to stop by Tribeca's Filli Pont, where he had his wedding reception in 1987, and which is owned by his old friend, Joe Ponte.
After all, there's nothing like a home-cooked meal for this New Yorker at heart -- no matter how much one pictures him in that California-clever State Farm commercial, pitching a movie script while sipping a wheatgrass smoothie.
Dean Chiungos is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.