I never knew much about Bobby Cox. Oh sure, I heard a lot about him through the years. After all he’s been managing the Braves since 1986 and it seems his name was always out there, usually for arguing with the umps or being ejected from a game, not necessarily what you want to be known for. But during this last playoff series and especially during his last interview, I was struck by one comment he made. It referred to a controversial call by an umpire at 2nd base. The play was a head-first slide by Giants’ Buster Posey into 2nd and a safe call by the ump. Replay shows Posey was clearly out, and it ended up being a deciding factor in the 1 run win by the Giants over Atlanta and eventually eliminated Atlanta from the series, ending Cox’s career. Yet Bobby Cox didn’t utter a peep! Why?
On August 14, 2010, Bobby Cox broke the MLB ejections record with 131 career ejections. He’s a player’s manager. Just getting ejected certainly doesn’t make one great, but when Bobby Cox got ejected he was doing it for the right reason. He wasn’t just arguing a call to get the ump to change his mind, or to grandstand, or slow up the game. He was always arguing in defense of his players. Always! He was out there every game defending his players, trying to even up the playing field making sure the other team wasn’t getting an unfair advantage. When he felt his players had been treated unfairly by a call, he never, ever backed down. That is his legacy.
In an interview after this last game Cox was asked about that call at 2nd base. He was told the replay clearly showed the runner was out and was asked why he didn’t challenge the call. After all, his career and reputation was built on challenging umpire calls these past 32 years. His response surprised me. The reason he didn’t challenge the call was simple. He was watching his 2nd baseman and outfielders and they showed no reaction. Had any of them reacted as though they thought the runner was out, he would have been out on that field immediately in protest of the call. Cox said it’s impossible to see what’s going on from the manager’s viewpoint so he’s always trusted his player’s reactions on how the play should have been called. That’ s how he managed his entire career and his players loved him for it. Of course, some players could easily have taken advantage of Bobby’s trust in them and I’m sure they did, but they always knew he had their back and that’s how loyalties are made.
I could write pages and pages about the career of this man. It might surprise you that he only played in the major leagues for two years, as a 3rd baseman for the New York Yankees. And did you know he ranks 4th on the Baseball All-time Managerial “Wins” list? It goes on and on. Check out the Related Articles below. They’ll keep you reading for days.
The team got together and gave Bobby and his wife a going away gift. It’s a cruise and they’re leaving next April! April? That’s the beginning of another baseball season! You don’t retire from baseball. No one retires from baseball. Welcome to Baseball Fandom Bobby Cox. The only thing that’s changed is the players!
- Goodbye, Bobby Cox (blogcritics.org)
- Colin Barnicle: The Fallible Hero (huffingtonpost.com)
- Bobby Cox ejected again (theglobeandmail.com)
- Atlanta Braves’ Bobby Cox ejected after arguing call at first base (sports.espn.go.com)
- Atlanta Braves give Bobby Cox new car in pregame tribute (sports.espn.go.com)
- Bobby Cox: One of baseball’s best managers ever? Our Top 5 picks (csmonitor.com)
- Farewell, Bobby Cox: The Atlanta Braves Will Miss You (bleacherreport.com)