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Torre hosts 17th annual Safe At Home gala

Foundation honors journalist Carlson, former Yankees star Matsui
@ladsonbill24
November 15, 2019

NEW YORK -- Joe Torre is more than just the Chief Baseball Officer for Major League Baseball. He is a person who cares a lot about children. On Thursday night, Torre and his wife, Ali, showed that compassion by hosting the 17th annual Safe At Home Foundation gala at Cipriani,

NEW YORK -- Joe Torre is more than just the Chief Baseball Officer for Major League Baseball. He is a person who cares a lot about children. On Thursday night, Torre and his wife, Ali, showed that compassion by hosting the 17th annual Safe At Home Foundation gala at Cipriani, located across the street from the Wall Street bull in Manhattan.

The Safe At Home Foundation helps children afflicted by violence and abuse in their homes, schools and communities. The foundation has reached more than 100,000 students through individual and group counseling, school-wide campaigns, peer leadership and educational opportunities. The foundation helps young people cope with trauma and get on the path to healing, hope and empowerment. Safe At Home's signature program is a school-based safe room called Margaret's Place -- named in honor of Torre's mother.

The gala was a star-studded event that featured a lot of former big leaguers who played for Torre over the years, from David Cone to Todd Zeile. But the night belonged to journalist Gretchen Carlson, who was the 2019 Safe At Home Changemaker Award recipient, and former All-Star Hideki Matsui for his contributions to baseball, which included World Series MVP honors in 2009.

Torre called Carlson a trendsetter. During the past three years, she has encouraged women to speak up and have a voice. Carlson was recognized for the tremendous amount of courage it took for her to confront her former boss at FOX News, and she admitted that her work environment was unsafe.

"This is about the work that I have been doing the last three years," Carlson said. "Joe Torre and Ali have been doing this for 17 years, making sure that young kids have safe upbringings, and if they happen to be victims of domestic violence, they can get help in mentoring. This comes right down the same channels that I'm working on."

Matsui made an impact on the game after arriving from Japan before the 2003 season. Known as "Godzilla," Matsui was a two-time All-Star who helped the Yankees win the World Series in '09.

"He was a piece of cake," said Torre, who managed Matsui for five years with the Yankees. "He has always been special from the first day he came to our ballclub. ... He turned out to be our best hitter in hit-and-run situations and in 3-0 situations because he was very disciplined at the plate. He was a great player, great team player. He really picked up on the personality on our ballclub."

If she were alive today, how would Margaret feel about the success of the Save At Home Foundation? She would probably cringe, according to Torre, who revealed years ago that his father, Joe Sr., abused Margaret.

"I could never get her to complain," Torre remembered. "I knew I was a nervous kid and what my dad brought to the house was causing that. I could never get her to complain or talk about anything. She would have cringed when I went public about our home and starting our foundation. ... I'm so proud. This is our 17th gala. What we do with Margaret's Place, we reached a lot of kids. We know what we do works."

Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. He covered the Nationals/Expos from 2002-2016. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.