A Finish Line for Bobby Cox

The rumors and bits of information had been floating around for a few days and weeks now. Really, it was no surprise that the subject was coming up. Aged 68, and in his 20th consecutive season as manager of the Braves, people have been wondering how much longer Bobby Cox would be around inside the Atlanta clubhouse.

Today, we got official word from the man himself. Cox will return next season as head coach and then retire after the 2010 season, remaining with the team as a consultant for at least the next five years.

Cox ascended to the Major League manager role at just 36, in 1978 when he first took over the Braves and was there until fired by owner Ted Turner after the 1981 season. Cox went on to manager the Toronto Blue Jays for four years and then in 1986 returned to Atlanta as the General Manager.

Four years after that, and Cox re-took over the job as Manager and solidified his legacy in the city. Cox’s first full season back at the helm saw the Braves go from worst to first as grab a playoff spot and ultimately a World Series berth, lost to the Twins in seven games. That would be year one of fourteen consecutive division titles, lasting until the 2006 season.

It’s going to be difficult to think of the Braves without Bobby Cox who next year will tie Tommy Lasorda in 4th place for most seasons managing a single team. It’s been a good run for you Bobby. Although those who place premiums of the randomness of winning in the postseason might say otherwise, I find it hard to sneeze at such consistence quality as your 1990s and early 2000s run displayed.

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Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.

8 Responses to “A Finish Line for Bobby Cox”

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  1. Joe R says:

    Good post, but one thing: haven’t there been people who have gotten on Cox for NOT winning more in the postseason? In that great run from 1991-2005 (94 not counting), they made the playoffs all 14 times. The expected # of WS wins from the Braves in this run would have been about 2.125, and they got one.

    Obviously calling the Braves and Bobby Cox a failure is stupid and that argument is a logical mess, but I’m just saying, aren’t there people who think this way?

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  2. Bob says:

    I think that’s what he was getting at. Unless you’re one of those illogical people who does put too much significance in postseason results, Bobby Cox has had a very good run as manager.

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  3. Daniel says:

    I wish they would shorten the playoffs so this sort of “well he couldn’t win in the postseason” garbage would be a non-issue.

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    • Steve says:

      How does that follow? He still lost in the WS twice.

      The mid-late 90’s Braves were probably set up better than any other team of the era to thrive in a longer playoff format. How many teams had a Hall of Fame starter going in 6 out of every 7 games of a series?

      I’m not saying Cox deserves the criticism, but I don’t see how that would make it a non-issue.

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  4. Joel C. says:

    He lost in 1992 to Toronto as well.

    Great manager though. If he would have won just one more WS he would be held in much higher regard (He should be above LaRussa and Torre but I doubt he is considered that way among the masses). 1996 was the best chance, that team was very good.

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    • Joe R says:

      Of course he should be considered above two of the biggest bandwagon managers of all time.

      I notice that it seems like Cox also has a happy medium of being loyal to his players without being blind. Prado would probably be rotting on the bench as an 80 game / 200-250 PA guy under LaRussa or Torre, for example.

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  5. Greg says:

    I’m sorry, but this is a huge pet peeve of mine: the Braves did NOT win 14 consecutive division titles. The Expos won the division in 1994. Just because there was no playoffs does not mean that a division winner wasn’t crowned. Those regular season results still count. Otherwise, good post.

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