Baseball Bids Farewell to a Legend

Published by: dallaseste on 12th Oct 2010 | View all blogs by dallaseste
Baseball Bids Farewell to a Legend

The illustrious career of Bobby Cox came to an end Monday night when his Atlanta Braves were eliminated from the playoffs by the San Francisco Giants. Cox was the longest-tenured manager in the game and one of the most respected baseball figures of the last quarter-century.

Cox began his career as a baseball manager in 1978 with the Braves, a stint that would last four years until he moved on to manage the Toronto Blue Jays from 1982-1985. He returned to Atlanta and served as the team's general manager from 1985 to 1990, when he became the team's manager again and started an unprecedented run of success.

In 1991, Cox's Braves, along with the Minnesota Twins, became the first teams in Major League history to go from last place to first in a division. The division title would be the first of 14 consecutive division titles for the Braves, a feat that will likely never be matched in any of the four major professional sports. The stretch lasted a total of 15 seasons because the 1994 season was cut short by a strike that would cancel the post-season and no division titles were won that year.

Cox leaves the game as the fourth-winningest manager in the history of Major League Basesall. His numerous awards include four Manager of the Year Awards, and he is one of only four men to have won the Award in both the National and American Leagues. He is also the only man in history to win the award in back-to-back seasons. The Sporting News named Cox Manager of the Year a whopping eight times.

Though not known for having a fiery temper, Cox was ejected a record 158 times in his career, a fact that illustrates his reputation as a players' manager. Cox would always argue for his players, risking ejection so that his players could stay in the game. During his 21-year, second stint as manger of the Braves, the rest of the National League went through a total of 106 managers.

During the Braves streak of 14 consecutive division titles, excluding the strike-shortened 1994 season, the Braves won an average of 97 games per season. To put that number in perspective, in the last five years only two teams have reached that win total in a single season.

Cox's Braves teams, despite winning five National League pennants in eight seasons, were only able to claim one World Series title, in 1995. But among managers who began their careers after 1900, only Tony La Russa won more games; and he accomplished the feat by managing for three more seasons than Cox. La Russa also spread his victories throughout stints with three different teams, while the vast majority of Cox's career wins came with the Braves.

Bobby Cox will enter the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 2015, but his impact on the Atlanta Braves and the game of baseball will not soon be forgotten. Whoever the Braves appoint to replace him will, sadly, never be able to live up to the legacy he leaves behind. As the race for the Fall Classic continues tonight with Game 5 between the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays, baseball fans should take a moment to reflect on the career of one of the greatest managers in the game's history.

So long, Bobby. Baseball will miss you.


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