HOF Profile: Bobby Cox

bobby_coxBeing a coach or a manager is a unique challenge in sports as they are given the responsibility of motivating a group of individuals to play together. It can be tougher for baseball managers who make decisions that can instantly lose a game. One pitching change or defensive shift can mean the difference between a win and a loss as the managers need to walk the fine line between making the right call and the wrong call. More than just these calls are the small nuances of being a manager in the MLB that not many would know. One of those small nuances is getting thrown out at just the right time. It may sound ridiculous as being thrown out can usually be more about a manager blowing up and losing his cool. Sometimes that can be true but other times it is all about the strategy of the manager. That was the case for Bobby Cox who is widely known as the master of being thrown out of games. From the outside it seemed as though Cox was a hot-headed manager that would blow up at the tightest call. In the locker room it was all a strategy for the manager to stand up for his players and in many cases take the bullet for his players. On one hand it was a chance for Cox to get the players behind him as he would fight their battles. By coming out and arguing for close calls he would become a manager that players loved to play for. The strategy would also pay off to ensure that his players stayed on the field. When a player begins arguing and gets thrown out of a game that is the end for what could be a very important piece to a team. It could means that the team lost their best chance of winning the game with a top batter or fielder being forced to leave. So to avoid this a manager will step in and take the hit for the player making the official throw the manager out rather than the player. It is a part of the game that not many understand and is misconstrued more often than not but it is one that Cox would excel at throughout his career making him a legend and now a hall of famer.

Cox would not have the most brilliant of playing careers only lasting two seasons in the MLB with the Yankees. Injuries would cut his time short in the major leagues but he would still be able to make an impact after his playing career. After his playing career he would begin the long road to becoming an MLB manager and would learn plenty along the way. Beginning in the Yankees system Cox would manage a number of their minor league teams even winning the Governor’s Cup in the International League with Syracuse. He would finally get his shot in the major leagues in 1977 when he would become the first base coach for the New York Yankees winning a championship with the team he began his career with. The Yankees were not ready to name him a manager at that point but he would remain one of the top prospects to take over a managerial role on a team. He would get his shot later in 1977 when he was hired by the Atlanta Braves as the youngest managers in the National League, he was 30-years old. He would not have a lot of success in Atlanta at the time and moved on to manage the young Toronto Blue Jays helping them to become a serious contender in the 1980s. After his time in Toronto Cox returned to Atlanta  where he would be the General Manager before becoming the manager in 1990. From that point on Cox would create his legend helping the Braves to 14 straight division titles through the 1990s and 2000s. The farm system that he built as a general manager and the fact that he got his players to play for him would be a big reason for the unprecedented success of the Braves and that is who he will enter the hall in the class of 2014.

bobby_cox

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