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Legendary manager Joe Torre to retire at end of baseball season

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Los Angeles Dodgers' Joe Torre to retire from managing after 29 seasons
  • With the New York Yankees, Torre won four World Series titles
  • Don Mattingly, L.A.'s hitting coach, to take over as skipper
  • The former Yankee great has no full-time managerial experience

(CNN) -- Joe Torre, the fifth-winningest manager in major league baseball history, announced Friday he is retiring at the end of the season.

The 70-year-old Torre will leave the Los Angeles Dodgers in the hands of his hitting coach, Don Mattingly, who has 2,318 victories fewer than his skipper. In his 29 seasons, Torre has managed the Dodgers, the New York Mets, the Atlanta Braves, the St. Louis Cardinals and, most famously, the New York Yankees.

In the Bronx, Torre won four World Series titles and six league crowns but left New York after 12 years when he angrily rejected the Yankees contract offer after the 2007 season. The Dodgers went to the playoffs the first two seasons Torre managed the team, but are just 72-75 this season.

"It's not easy to just say you don't want to do something any more," Torre said. "Baseball has been my life and hopefully will continue to be my life in some other capacity."

Torre said he will talk to Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti next month about what his future role with the team will be, but it's best that Mattingly step in for the 2011 season.

"I think in this situation the ball club will be better served by Donnie," Torre said.

Torre said it was still fun to manage, but he realized it was time to leave the game he entered in 1960 as a player with the Milwaukee Braves. Torre will likely go into the National Baseball Hall of Fame as a manager but he was also a very good hitter. In 1971, he was voted the National League MVP when he hit a league high .363 with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Colletti was asked if any other candidates were interviewed for the job and said he discussed the issue with Major League Baseball about the hiring process before extending the offer to Mattingly without talking to any other prospective hires.

Mattingly, 49, is a managerial novice, having only led the club a few times after Torre was ejected. The Dodgers had announced recently that he would manage this fall in an offseason league for up-and-coming young players.

Mattingly, who was one of the most popular Yankees ever when he played, had interviewed in the past for the Yankees' position when Torre left and in the past offseason when the Indians were hiring (Manny Acta got the job). Mattingly has been a coach on Torre's bench for seven seasons.

"Are you ready?" Frank McCourt, owner of the Dodgers, said to Mattingly after thanking Torre for reinstilling a winning attitude.

"I'm ready," Mattingly said.

"I know you're ready," McCourt said.

"I have a confidence in myself. I've been around the game a long time, not necessarily in the manager's seat," Mattingly said. "I know people are going to question it, and that's understandable. But I know I can do it."

Mattingly said he will look for a veteran coach to step into his role.

Torre is the third long-time manager to announce his retirement this season. Bobby Cox, fourth all-time in wins, will retire after the Atlanta Braves' last game. Lou Piniella left the Chicago Cubs in August to be with his ailing mother. He was 14th on the victories list.