Today should be a celebration of the amazing managerial career of Bobby Cox. In his second stint as the Atlanta skipper from 1990-2010, he took 15 of his 21 Braves’ teams to the postseason. From 1991-2005 (no champion in 1994 because of the strike), Cox managed Atlanta to an unprecedented 14 straight division titles. His Braves’ tenure also includes five National League pennants and one World Series title in 1995.
It’s that last number that has a few too many in the national media feeling a need to criticize the beloved manager today, and I, for one, just don’t get it. The concept that Cox is “not a winner” because he has only one World Series ring is ludicrous. If Lonnie Smith doesn’t make a base-running blunder in 1991, is Cox viewed differently? Probably so, and that’s sad. In this world of second-guessing and radio call-in managing, a little perspective can be hard to find. Believe me Bobby; I would have taken the Mark Wohlers versus Jim Leyritz matchup in 1996 as well.
Cox retires as only one of four managers with 2,500 or more wins. Besides his time in Atlanta, he also took Toronto to the Playoffs in 1985 and has won the Manager of the Year in both National and American League. Besides all of the wins, Bobby Cox leaves the game as one of the most respected and loved skippers the game has ever seen. It’s not very easy to manage 25 high-ego personalities for six months at a time, and his ability to relate to everyone on his bench made Cox truly special.
We wish Bobby well in his retirement and look forward to seeing him enshrined in Cooperstown. He will be missed by all of us directly or indirectly involved in the game. 14 straight Division Titles? I believe that one may stand for a while. Tip of the cap to Bobby Cox, a true winner.