Bobby the Brave

Atlanta's longtime manager is leaving behind a winning legacy

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The most beloved member of the Atlanta Braves right now was a light-hitting third-baseman who spent only two seasons as a pro baseball player.

Of course, that's not why Braves Nation loves Bobby Cox.

Braves fans embrace Cox for the amazing years he has put in as a manager and front-office executive -- especially for his astounding 21-year run in which he skippered his team to 14 consecutive division titles.

Fans will miss him terribly when he retires at the end of this season.

But this season isn't over yet.

On Sunday he steered his Braves to the playoffs yet again. A victory over the Philadelphia Phillies put Cox and his team, for the first time in his career, in a wild-card spot to win the National League pennant.

Managers come and go in baseball, but the true legends help mold the team's history.

It was Cox -- during his first stint as Braves manager in 1980 -- who decided to move first-baseman Dale Murphy to center field to take advantage of Murphy's speed. That crucial move helped make Murphy the Braves' star player of the '80s.

When Cox returned to the Braves in 1986 as the team's general manager, he set to work rebuilding its sluggish farm system -- and shepherded the early careers of some of the biggest-named Braves of the 1990s, such as Tom Glavine, David Justice, Ron Gant and Steve Avery.

In 1990 Cox fired manager Russ Nixon and took over the job himself.

Now we can talk about history. Cox took the Braves to four World Series, highlighted by Atlanta's only world championship in 1995.

And Cox holds at least one other baseball career record: He's been ejected from the diamond more than any other manager -- 158 times as of last Sept. 17. But that doesn't mean he's a hothead.

He's a fighter. And a winner.

The Braves have the chance to send their skipper out in style Thursday as they begin their best-of-five playoff series against the San Francisco Giants. After that, who knows? Another National League pennant? Another World Series title for the Braves?

Let's hope the fans' farewell to Bobby Cox is a very long goodbye. We're not done with him just yet.

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dani 10/05/10 - 09:52 am
What can I add? God Bless

What can I add? God Bless Bobby Cox. And GO! Braves!

Quack Quack Quack
Quack Quack Quack 10/05/10 - 11:11 am
Thanks for a great article.

Thanks for a great article. It's funny, when they lose, Bobby's the worst manager in baseball. When they win, He is a hero. I came to GA late in 1990 from FL. I caught "Braves Fever" in 1991 with the "worse to first" season. They have let me down many times, but many more times have made me proud to be a Braves Fan. I hope that the excitement of this Post Season will reignite all the players, and put us on top once again. GO BRAVES!!! Thanks to Bobby Cox for many years of great baseball.

follower 10/05/10 - 03:30 pm
I think he leaves pitchers in

I think he leaves pitchers in too long. I think he worries about the righty-lefty matchup too much. We don't play small ball. There are a ton of reasons for baseball purist not to like Cox. But......

Few managers have accumulated the record he has. Shows what I know.

Pretty big shoes to fill. Hard to imagine the Braves without him. Thanks Bobby!! Would love for you to go out in style.

techadvocate 10/05/10 - 03:38 pm
Cox was outcoached every

Cox was outcoached every October. Should have been gone a long time ago...

follower 10/05/10 - 05:25 pm
But tech, he was there. 25-28

But tech, he was there. 25-28 coaches weren't. Who's the replacement?

The manager isn't the one striking out, hitting into DP's, and walking batters. Is it his fault Ron Gant, Steve Avery, Maddox [terrible in the playoffs], Wohlers, and a host of others, didn't step up to the plate?
I'm not saying he was the best, but there were two dozen or so much worse. Since 1991, Atlanta has had little to complain about compared to others. Still the only major sports team in the state with a World Championship.

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