Torre's golf event continues Safe At Home's mission
Annual tournament raises money for domestic violence awareness
SCARBOROUGH, N.Y. -- Joe Torre hosts a golf tournament benefitting his charity every July, but as he milled about the Sleepy Hollow Country Club on Thursday morning, it dawned on him that the latest edition was vastly different from 2013's in a not insignificant way: The weather was perfect.
"Gorgeous," Torre, surveying the first hole, said of the 78-and-sunny scene. "Remember last year? Hundred degrees."
And so it was a successful day in a quiet town along the Hudson River, though that would have been the case no matter the climate. Torre's Celebrity Golf & Tennis Classic raised money for his Safe At Home Foundation, which seeks to create an atmosphere of awareness when it comes to domestic violence.
Torre and his wife, Ali, founded Safe At Home in 2002 in an effort to give kids a better childhood than Torre had, when Torre's father was verbally and physically abusive toward his mother.
Though Torre was not physically abused himself, he saw the damage it can do, and he set out to help those faced with what he called "this terrible, terrible, terrible health issue." Safe At Home has since reached more than 45,000 students in the New York and Los Angeles areas through a dozen "Margaret's Places" -- named after Torre's mother -- where affected youth can go to talk to each other and professional counselors.
"Are we going to raise some money today? Sure," Torre said. "Are we going to be able to open another Margaret's Place? Yeah, hopefully that's the case. But more importantly, it's talking about it, gaining awareness, gaining more awareness. It's a subject that nobody wants to talk about -- or nobody wanted to talk about it.
"That's the important thing for me, to be able to reach youngsters that nobody pays attention to because they slip through the cracks unless we have this type of program."
Torre's friends came out in droves to support that goal Thursday. Former Yankees David Cone, Tino Martinez, Willie Randolph and Bucky Dent were among the 11 celebrities paired with a limited number of foursomes to play the course at Sleepy Hollow. Tony La Russa, who along with Torre will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame next weekend, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani also joined in on the fun.
"I love coming to this golf tournament and Joe's dinners, because the Safe At Home Foundation does great things for abused kids and gives them a place to go," said Martinez, who easily bested Giuliani in a celebratory first tee shot. "[It] really, really changes their life and makes life that much better in the future. It's just a great thing he's done."
Cone also comes to the tournament most years in support of Torre's "courageous effort" -- even, Torre made sure to note, when the former Yankees and Dodgers skipper moved to California, leaving his New York life behind most of the year.
"'Safe At Home' says it all," Cone said. "The tangible benefits of having centers built that you can see and go to and touch and feel, as opposed to money that you don't really know where it's going in a lot of charities. Joe did it right, and it's making an impact."
Tim Healey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.