boston.com Sports Sportsin partnership with NESN your connection to The Boston Globe

Torrez played both sides

Catching up with Mike Torrez

He is forever linked as one of the main characters in the Boston Red Sox - New York Yankees rivalry.

Mike Torrez pitched five seasons (1978-82) for the Red Sox and was a key member of the 1978 starting rotation, which was also the same year Boston was forced to play a playoff game against the Yankees after losing a 14-game lead in the American League East.

It was during that playoff game Torrez gave up one of the most heart-wrenching home runs in Red Sox history to the Yankees Bucky Dent. With two outs in the seventh inning, Dent connected on a three-run home run propelling New York past the Red Sox 5-4 adding a new chapter to the Red Sox misery.

“It really has never really bothered me and I know my name comes out a lot on Classic Sports,” said Torrez. “I know I had pitched a great game that day. Unfortunately we ended up on the short side.”

Fast forward to the present and the misery is gone from Red Sox Nation. Last fall, the Red Sox came back from a three games to none deficit to beat the Yankees then went on to sweep the St. Louis Cardinals to earn their first World Series title in 86 years.

“I was happy for them and they deserved it,” said Torrez. “They played great coming back down three games to none and showed character. It was just their year. Everything fell into place for them and everything went right for them.”

Torrez was unique in the fact that he played on both sides of the greatest rivalry in sports, which was quite the experience.

“Looking back at it, it was a lot of fun and I was glad to be a part of it,” said Torrez. “You wanted to beat the Yankees so bad when I was with the Red Sox and when I was with the Yankees we wanted to beat the Red Sox so bad. With all the talk and the media it builds up as a player and you want to do well against the Red Sox or the Yankees depending which team you are on.”

These days, Torrez, 58, resides in Naperville, Illinois with his wife Teresa. The two of them have a daughter, Christiaan, 35 three sons, Iannick, 28, Michael, 21 and Wesley, 14 and three grandchildren, Hanna, Noah, and Chloe.

“I’m originally from the Midwest and was born and raised in Kansas,” said Torrez. “My wife is from Ohio and we got a little closer to family. We were living in White Plains, New York for about twenty years and decided to move to the Midwest.

“I still fly back to the east quite a bit, so we wanted a place close to the airport. I’m only about 20 minutes from O’Hare and fly back to White Plains every other week because of my business.”

For work, Torrez is the president of MAT Premiums and sells all kinds of hats, t-shirts and puts corporate logos on anything.

“I’ve been doing it since 1994 and have been in business 11 years now,” sad Torrez. “I enjoy it, but it’s a bit of travel going back and forth. I get to see a lot of people and plus back east I do a lot of card shows and signings.”

Outside of work, Torrez enjoys watching his son, Wesley, play baseball, who is following in his father’s footsteps.

“I enjoy watching Wesley and he is playing in PONY League travel,” said Torrez. “I have enjoyed watching him grow from the time when he was in Little League to where he is now. Next year he will be starting high school.”

In all, Torrez played 18 seasons in the Major Leagues for seven different teams - Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Montreal Expos, Baltimore Orioles, Oakland A's, New York Yankees, and New York Mets.

Torrez finished his career with a 185-160 record with a 3.96 ERA, 1,404 strikeouts and pitched over 3,000 innings (3,044). He played in the post-season one time and made the most of it winning a World Series title with the Yankees in 1977.

“There is only one percent of all Major League pitchers that have pitched that many innings,” said Torrez. “I would have liked to have won 200 and that’s the only thing I wish I would have done. I wanted to stay in the game and when I left the game at 37 they were still clocking me at 92, 93.”

As far as the current Red Sox, Torrez thinks they have a good chance to repeat, but it’s all going to depend on the pitching.

“They (Red Sox) have a good ball club,” said Torrez. “In the Major Leagues you need pitching. If you don’t have pitching you are not going to win. I don’t care what you say. It’s as simple as that and you can look at all the teams that have always won.”


The Torrez File

NAME: Michael Torrez

BIRTHDAY: August 28, 1946

RESIDES: Naperville, Illinois

WHERE DID YOU GROW UP: Topeka, Kansas

CURRENTLY: President of MAT Premiums

ENJOYS: Watching his son Wesley play baseball

CLAIM TO FAME: Pitched five seasons with the Red Sox winning 16 games in 1978, 79. He was on the mound for Bucky Dent's home run in the 1978 playoff game between the Red Sox and Yankees.

AQUIRED: Signed as a Free Agent with the Red Sox on November 23, 1977.

HIGHLIGHT OF BASEBALL CAREER: Pitching two complete games and winning both games in the 1977 World Series

TOUGHEST HITTER YOU FACED: Rod Carew

CURRENT PLAYER YOU MOST ADMIRE: Roger Clemens

LAST TIME IN BOSTON: I was there last year for a card signing

ONE WORD TO DESCRIBE RED SOX FANS: Jubilant, crazy

FAVORITE THING ABOUT NEW ENGLAND: Clam Chowder

IF YOU HAD ONE WISH WHAT IT BE: To always be healthy in life and be happy

WOULD YOU EVER PARTICIPATE IN A REALITY TV SHOW: Yes I think so

EVER WALK THE FREEDOM TRAIL: I lived right by there

DO YOU KNOW WHAT A BUBBLER (WATER FOUNTAIN) IS: No

CANDLEPIN BOWLING OR BIG BALL BOWLING: Big Ball Bowling

WILL THE NHL START ON TIME NEXT SEASON: No

DID YOU WATCH THE RED SOX WIN THE WORLD SERIES: Yes and I was at home

2005 PICK TO WIN THE WORLD SERIES: Chicago White Sox

SEARCH GLOBE ARCHIVES
   
Today (free)
Yesterday (free)
Past 30 days
Last 12 months