Thursday, February 6, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #93 - Bobby Cox

  • It's hard to believe Bobby Cox was ever this young.
  • Cox spent most of his playing career in the minor leagues. Bobby spent two seasons (1968-1969) in the majors but he was sent back down in 1970 due to his light hitting.
  • Bobby was a player-manager in Class A Fort Lauderdale in 1971. He then managed several teams in the New York Yankees organization from 1972-1976. Cox was the first base coach for the world champion Yankees in 1977. 
  • After the 1977 season Bobby was hired to manage the Atlanta Braves. The Braves were a struggling ballclub during that time. After two last place finishes, the Braves became a .500 ballclub, but it wasn't enough for owner Ted Turner and Cox was fired after the 1981 season. Bobby's successor (Joe Torre) took the Braves to a division title and two second place finishes after Cox was fired. The most important (and to many unorthodox) move during Bobby's first tenure with Atlanta was moving Dale Murphy from catcher to center field. The move paid huge dividends for Murphy and the team during the 1980s.
  • Cox was hired to manage the Toronto Blue Jays after his dismissal from the Braves. The Blue Jays steadily improved and played well under Bobby's tenure. Cox won a division title with Toronto in 1985.
  • After the 1985 season Cox left the Blue Jays and returned to the Braves as General Manager. Bobby served as the Braves' GM from 1986 until the middle of the 1990 season. Cox fired manager Russ Nixon and returned to the dugout to manage. In 1991 the Braves went "from worst to first" as they won the first of many division titles under Cox. The Braves lost a thrilling 7-game World Series to the Minnesota Twins.
  • The Braves were division champions every year (except the 1994 strike year) from 1991-2005. Atlanta won only one World Championship (1995) during that time, but they had a run of success that  may never be equaled. 
  • Bobby Cox stepped down as the Braves' manager after the 2010 season. After four years of missing the playoffs, the Braves were a wild card in Bobby's final season.
  • Cox finished his managerial career with 2504 wins (4th all-time), 5 pennants, and one world championship. Cox was selected as Manager of the Year four times. Bobby was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2013 and will be inducted in 2014.
  • Managerial record:
    • Fort Lauderdale Yankees (A) (1971): 71-70
    • West Haven Yankees (AA) (1972): 84-56, .600
    • Syracuse Chiefs (AAA) (1973-1976): 304-261, .538
    • Atlanta Braves (1978-1981, 1990-2010): 2149-1709, .557
    • Toronto Blue Jays (1982-1985): 355-292, .549