Braves honor retiring Cox

Braves manager Bobby Cox waves his cap to the fans during a ceremony before Saturday's game. Cox was given a Lexus from the club and a Mediterranean cruise from his current players.

ATLANTA --- Bobby Cox reached behind his sunglasses to dab his eyes a few times on Saturday as the Atlanta Braves paid tribute to their longtime manager.


The ceremony before the game against the Philadelphia Phillies attracted about 70 former players and coaches, who all wore their white Braves jerseys and sat in the infield.

Cox was given a 2010 Lexus LS460 from the Braves and an 11-night cruise from his current players. Cox said "Holy Cow!" when shown a picture of another gift -- a bench made with autographed bats, balls and baseball cards from every player on the team.

Chipper Jones, representing the current players, called Cox "the greatest manager any of us will know."

The manager appeared moved when Jones said, "I want to personally thank you for taking a chance on me. I've been trying to make you proud for 20 years."

Former players, including Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, Dale Murphy, Phil Niekro, Gary Sheffield, Andres Galarraga and David Justice, gave Cox a standing ovation.

They remained standing as Cox thanked the fans, his wife, Pam, and his family.

Cox tipped his cap to the fans and said "These last three decades have just been magnificent."

Cox said his players deserved credit for the wins.

"The main reasons is these guys right here," Cox said, looking at his players. "They're great players. They're my friends."

Before the ceremony, Cox said, "It feels like my whole career has flown by. It's nothing but a blur right now."

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig and former Braves owner Ted Turner offered congratulations to Cox in taped messages.

Turner chided himself for firing Cox in 1981.

"Looking back on all you've accomplished, it's hard to believe I actually let you go, the greatest manager in baseball history," Turner said.

"Luckily for us you came back."



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