Congratulations to the Atlanta Braves who last evening won their 14th straight division title, a record that is unprecedented in any professional sport. During this amazing streak, the one constant has been the managerial leadership of Bobby Cox, who is perhaps the most underrated person in Major League Baseball. ESPN’s Jayson Stark has this tribute to the greatest manager ever, Cox no doubt the best in the biz. If you are a fan of the sport, give this a read and hear the testimonials of many great players on how Bobby Cox manages to win year after year, with veterans and rookies alike, despite the injuries and without the huge payrolls of certain New York teams.
Thanks, Jayson, for recognizing what Braves’ fans have appreciated all of these years — that Bobby Cox is a manager in a league by himself. Here’s a sample:
2. A little respect
Some managers are around for 15 minutes, and their players have had enough of them. Bobby Cox has been doing this for 15 years — in the same uniform — and we’re still waiting for this shocking, historic development:
Hearing one of his players rip him.
“I don’t think anybody in this room would tell you anything bad about Bobby,” says catcher Eddie Perez, now in his second incarnation as a Brave under Cox. “How could they? He never puts you down. He never talks bad about you. He never makes you feel like you’re the one who loses the game, even if you just made an error to let in the winning run. He’ll try to make it seem like it was a fluke. He’ll say, ‘Did you see that ball hit that rock?’
“I played here for eight years the first time,” Perez goes on. “And until I moved to another team, I never had another manager. But I saw a lot of guys come here who said, ‘He’s the best manager ever.’ Fred McGriff was one of them. I said, ‘Why?’ And he said, ‘Just try to stay here, because he’s the best.’ And you know what? Fred was right.”