Four Corners: Where does Cox rate in pantheon of managers?


Mt. Rushmore-worthy

Phil Rogers

Chicago Tribune

Winning with the Yankees is one thing. Winning with the Braves is another. Winning when players grumble about you is one thing. Winning when players universally respect — and often genuinely love you — is another.

Bobby Cox did it the right way. That's why he was able to manage 21 seasons with the Braves, a period in which the other National League teams ripped through 106 managers.

There is no question he is one of the greatest managers ever. He's not one of the 22 managers with multiple World Series victories, but he ranks alongside Tony La Russa as one of the greatest managers of his era, ahead of Joe Torre, who won four World Series with the Yankees. Put him on the managerial Mount Rushmore alongside Connie Mack, Joe McCarthy, Sparky Anderson and La Russa.

One of best ever

Kevin Baxter

Los Angeles Times

There are a number of ways to measure a manager's success, but chief among them is did he win. And Bobby Cox was certainly a winner. Of managers who started their careers after 1900, only Tony La Russa has won more games.

Cox's Braves won 14 consecutive division titles. By way of comparison, the Pirates had only two winning seasons during that span.

And the Braves averaged 97 wins during that streak. Only two teams won more games even once in a single season in the last five years.

Cox's Achilles' heel was the postseason. Although he made the World Series five times, he won just once and his postseason record is under .500.

In terms of longevity and consistency, however, no one can match Cox, whose legacy as one of the best ever is sealed.

Put him in the top 5

Dean Jones Jr.

Baltimore Sun

As the Braves were eliminated from the playoffs, the surreal thought that one of baseball's greatest managers was never going to be in the dugout again became a reality.

Bobby Cox's career is defined by the Braves' 14 consecutive division titles from 1991 to 2005 — the model of consistency among major league managers.

Although Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics teams finished with a winning record in only 25 of his 50 seasons, Mack sits comfortably atop the managerial wins list with 3,731.

Veteran Yankees managers Joe McCarthy, Casey Stengel and Joe Torre don't rank ahead of Cox in all-time victories, but their teams were able to win when it counted — in the World Series. While Cox's teams frequently made quick exits from the playoffs, his five NL pennants and one World Series title easily make him one of the top five in history.

Timeless substance

Juan C. Rodriguez

Sun Sentinel

Any manager will tell you he's only as good as his players, and Bobby Cox had his share of great ones, many of whom will take up residence with him in the Hall of Fame.

What distinguishes great managers isn't superior knowledge of lineup construction or double switches. I'm willing to bet less than 5 percent of Cox's 2,504 victories (fourth-most all-time) resulted from him outmanaging a counterpart. What made Cox one of the top five in the game's history was thriving in an era when players tune out managers and coaches like bad songs on the radio.

In all of Cox's years in Atlanta, you never heard about the Braves contemplating a change because his message or "act" had grown stale. The substance Cox brought was timeless.

Copyright © 2020, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad