Three of the most prolific managers in recent MLB history were announced as the latest inductees for the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Monday, off of the Expansion Era ballot filled with 12 venerated figures in America's pastime.
Multiple-time World Series winners Joe Torre and Tony La Russa and longtime Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox were the 2014 inductees, and they will officially be made a part of Cooperstown's history in a ceremony on Sunday, July 27, 2014.
As the Hall of Fame's official Twitter account pointed out, all of the managers were unanimous choices:
Cox, La Russa and Torre unanimously elected to Hall of Fame by Expansion Era Committee. Induction on July 27 in Cooperstown. #HOF2014— Baseball Hall (@BaseballHall) December 9, 2013
Fox Sports expert Ken Rosenthal felt that all of them were deserving of such high acclaim. However, he felt that legendary New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and former MLBPA Executive Director Marvin Miller were deserving, too:
La Russa, Cox, Torre all great, deserving choices. But Marvin Miller and Steinbrenner should be going in, too.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 9, 2013
Torre was an exceptional player as an All-Star catcher, but he is more recently known for overseeing the New York Yankees' powerhouse that won World Series rings in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000.
Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press documented what Torre had to say about what kept him motivated despite the raging success he had on such a consistent basis:
Torre: "once you get into the competition, it never gets old."— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) December 9, 2013
Getting inducted was a dream come true for La Russa, who was in a state of disbelief, per Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com:
La Russa on HOF induction: "I think the best way to describe the feeling is stunned."— Jenifer Langosch (@LangoschMLB) December 9, 2013
During his last season in 2011 with the St. Louis Cardinals, La Russa passed Cox for second on the all-time postseason wins list in Game 3 of the World Series. The Cardinals went on to win in seven, sending La Russa out on top and adding to the title he got there in 2006 in the process.
La Russa also found success before his stint in St. Louis with the Oakland Athletics, winning the first of his three World Series trophies in 1989.
Cox viewed his two counterparts as adversaries in the heat of competition on the diamond, but his respect for them was obvious in what he conveyed at Monday's press conference:
"I consider them enemies on the field and friends off the field." - Bobby Cox on Joe Torre and Tony La Russa. #HOF— MLB (@MLB) December 9, 2013
The Braves' official Twitter account put together a collage of pictures showing Cox at various stages of his amazing 25-year stead in Atlanta.
Congratulations to Bobby Cox for being elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame! pic.twitter.com/Y9x7fgHjIu— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) December 9, 2013
During that lengthy period, the franchise flourished as Cox compiled 2,149 wins, five National League pennants and the 1995 World Series title, per Baseball-Reference.com.
Torre emphasized how he learned just by watching La Russa and Cox at work honing their craft, as well as how honored he felt to enter the Hall of Fame with them:
"Managing against them, you certainly learned things ... I am honored to go into the Hall with these two guys." - Torre on Cox, La Russa.— MLB (@MLB) December 9, 2013
With so many deserving players knocking on the door of Cooperstown, it is hard to choose from the plethora of stars who have impacted the game of baseball on an annual basis.
However, all of these managers have left a successful mark for multiple generations and are well deserving of Hall of Fame designation.