With the Atlanta Braves’ regular season coming to a close and as they are on the brink of making the playoffs for the first time since 2005 and the first time they have ever claimed the Wild Card, it is hard to fathom that the end is near for the legend Bobby Cox. He has managed the Braves for the past 20 years and 24 years in all. It will not be easy looking into the Braves dugout next season and not seeing him. It will definitely be an adjustment not seeing him come out of the dugout to argue a call or protect a player and get thrown out of the ball game.
Looking over his career achievements, it is amazing at the success he had. Much has been made about his career wins and losses. He managed 29 total years in the big leagues. His career record is 2503-2000 for a winning percentage of .556. In the 25 years he has managed the Braves, he is 2148-1708 for a winning percent of .557. He is fourth all-time in wins as a manager. Connie Mack, John McGraw and Tony Larussa are the only managers to have won more games than Bobby Cox, although Bobby Cox has coached fewer seasons than these managers. Joe Torre is fifth on the list.
*He has managed a winning team in 19 of his 25 years as an Atlanta Braves manager. He managed a winning team in 22 of 29 years in his career with the Toronto Blue Jays and Braves combined.
*Excluding the strike shortened season of 1994, Bobby Cox has averaged just under 87 wins per season. He also won more than 100 games six times in his career.
*Bobby Cox has made the playoffs 15 times and if the Braves make it this season, he will have the most playoff appearances ever by a manager. Remarkably, all 15 playoff appearances before this season, has been as a divisional winner. This year would be the only time he made the playoffs as a Wild Card.
*He won 15 division titles, 5 pennants, and managed in 5 All Star games. The only criticism that people have against him is that he only won one World Series.
*He managed 7 Cy Young winners and 2 MVPs.
*He won manager of the year four times in his career and is the only manager to have won it in consecutive years.
*While Bobby Cox has managed the Braves for the last 20 years, the National League has seen 106 different managers lead the rest of the NL teams.
I think it is ridiculous for people to criticize Bobby Cox for only winning one World Series. It is difficult to think that he had so many appearances in the the playoffs, yet was only able to capture one World Series crown.
The reality is, it is easy to criticize a manager for not being able to win the World Series when he was there so frequently. But, how many managers have never made the playoffs? How many managers have made the playoffs and never won a World Series? How many managers have made the playoffs and have never played for a World Series? How many people criticize Bobby without ever trying to coach a team, let alone a clubhouse full of 25 big egos?
How many teams would like to have a manager lead them to the playoffs in 14 consecutive seasons? What about 14 seasons total? I am sure any team from Los Angeles, New York or a team in Philadelphia would love to have that type of success. Any team, big market, mid market or small market team would enjoy and welcome that type of success.
The true measure of a person is the legacy that they leave and the impact that they have on another person’s life. It is not what someone says about themselves, but it is about what others say about them. It is what their colleagues say about them. It is what their employees say about them. It is what their family says about them.
Bobby has a long line of people who has spoken about the man, the coach, and the person. Every player who played for Bobby speaks to the measure of who he has been. No one covers up that he has made mistakes on and off the field. He has made sacrifices to achieve what he has on the field. But, the measure of Bobby Cox is that he was not just a good manager, he was a great manager. He was one of the greatest managers of all time. We will probably never experience another manager like he has been.
I am glad that I was able to witness this great coach for a team that is dear to my heart.
Bobby, we will sincerely miss you.