The end of an era

Mike Kelly, Editor-in-Chief

Bobby Cox is finishing up his final season as skipper of the Braves. He will go down as one of the best managers of all time.

The greatest manager of his generation is done this Sunday. Atlanta baseball will have a new face as skipper for the first time in 20 seasons come next spring. Bobby Cox, arguably the greatest manager of all time is resigning after this season to the disbelief of his team and fans. Not so much disbelief from a managerial perspective, as Cox is approaching 70, but more so a disbelief as Cox has been a constant in that organization for over two decades.

Bobby Cox started his career in baseball 42 years ago, as an infielder for the New York Yankees. He only played two seasons, but got to play with baseball greats such as Greg Nettles, Mickey Mantle and Thurman Munson. Cox began his managerial career in 1971 as a manager in the Yankees farm system, where he was very successful and compiled a .543 winning percentage in six seasons. He then spent the 1977 season as the first base coach on the World Champion New York Yankee team before beginning his big league tenure the next season.

From 1978 to 1985 Cox managed the Atlanta Braves and Toronto Blue Jays, helping improve both clubs before his departure from the ball clubs. After leaving the Blue Jays, Cox returned to Atlanta as a general manager, and after four less than promising seasons he fired then coach Russ Nixon and appointed himself as manager of the club in 1990. Under Cox Atlanta did a complete 180 and became a powerhouse in the national league. The Braves went on to win 14 of the next 15 division titles and play for five World Series championships.

Bobby Cox has become a legend because of what he has done to that Atlanta squad. Things like his 2500+ victories, 15 straight first place finishes, being one of five men to manage a team for 20 years, and compile a winning percentage with over 500 more wins than losses.

To put things in perspective, during the time Bobby Cox has managed the Braves the rest of the national league has gone through 106 managers. The Cubs and Reds have gone through 11 each. The Marlins 10, the Mets 8, and the Dodgers 7. It seems as other teams favorite thing to do is to rip through managers at the first sign of distress, however, one man has stayed so consistent and beloved in Atlanta they’re almost begging him to stay.

If there is one other constant thing in the Braves organization during Cox’s time as manager its third baseman Chipper Jones. Jones was drafted first by Cox in the 1990 draft and quickly made an impact to his team. Very rarely do we see a player and coach have a relationship as they do. Cox is the only manager the future hall of fame third baseman knows. “The great thing about Bobby is he lets you be who you are, and he lets you be the player you are. He doesn’t make you something you’re not. He’s going to put you in the best situation possible,” Jones said through espn.com “He threw me in the 3-hole my rookie year for the best team in baseball. Who does that? But he knew my best chance to be successful was to let me get some fastballs to hit in front of David Justice and Javy Lopez and a bunch of veteran hitters, and it worked.”

Bobby has made many decisions that have worked in his career. That is why he has become the name he is today, and the legend of the coach that will remain for years to come.