The Yankees haven't issued uniform No. 6 since Joe Torre left after the 2007 season, because the folks at the top of that organization recognize that there will be a day -- possibly next summer -- when Torre will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Torre was an excellent player, with 2,342 hits, nine All-Star appearances and an MVP Award, but his 12 seasons as manager of the Yankees push his candidacy over the top: He was the on-field leader of baseball's last dynasty, with the Yankees accumulating four championships and five World Series appearances in the span of six years. He was the perfect personality to manage a near-perfect roster, and the success of those teams, in the post-free-agency era that began in 1976, is unparalleled.
Torre is an important part of the Yankees' history, which is why the time will come, after he is celebrated in Cooperstown, that No. 6 will be retired in Torre's honor, with all of the attending pomp and circumstance.
Because it's the right thing to do, no matter the strain that occurred as Torre left the organization. There are personal relationships that were damaged along the way, and most or all will never be repaired because of what was done and said when he departed and because of what is contained within the pages of Torre's book. The split was ugly, unquestionably.
But like two divorced parents who do right by their children, the Yankees and Torre have chosen to set their differences aside when it comes to the treatment of their shared history. Torre has not boycotted Yankee Stadium, nor turned his back on the Yankees' organization; the Yankees never exiled Torre.
When the Yankees honored Mariano Rivera at the end of the season, Torre was part of the ceremony, and introduced in the same way that Bernie Williams, Paul O'Neill, Tino Martinez, Jorge Posada and others were introduced. There was no hint of bitterness.
Which was the right thing to do. Because they all understand that what they accomplished together belongs to the ages, to fans, and should never be overshadowed by lingering personal feuds and disputes.
The Boston Red Sox won the World Series in 1918 and did not win another for the next 85 years. But finally, in 2004, they won again, with a memorable group of players that Johnny Damon dubbed as the "Idiots." The general manager of that team was Theo Epstein, and three years later, with Epstein serving as GM, they won again. Two championships in four years, transformative success for the Red Sox -- success shared by John Henry, Tom Werner, Larry Lucchino, Epstein, Terry Francona, the staff and the players.