“C’mon kid, let’s go kid.” That’s what you would hear in the Atlanta Braves dugout from the manager. To Bobby Cox, all his players are “kids”, but not just kids—his kids. Even at 68, you can still hear the skipper loud and clear, cheering on his players.
While most managers stay in the dugout and cheer on their players, Cox spends a lot of his time on the field arguing controversial calls. He’s a man who will do anything for his players—including set a MLB record of 150 career ejections over the course of 28 years. But he’s not a man of temperament; he’s just sticking up for his players, knowing it’s better for the team for him to get ejected rather than his players.
Braves veteran, Chipper Jones remembers when the skipper broke the record for most career ejections. “He was actually defending me. It was a ball/strike call that I was arguing. He came to the rescue and probably prevented me from getting thrown out. So, he ended up getting thrown out instead of me.”
Even though having the most career ejections isn’t exactly a record you want to have, it doesn’t seem to bother Cox. He jokingly said, “I added up all my fines the other day and realized I could have bought a nice house with all the fines.”
Coming from the man who still wears his spikes every time he puts on his Braves uniform, just in case, his love for the game is indescribable. While former Brave, Ron Gant, thinks Cox wears his spikes so he can dig them in the clay to give him more leverage when he yells at umpires, I think he wears them because he’s not quite ready to hang them up yet. Although next year may be his last managing the Braves, he’s still going to be involved in the Braves organization through visiting farm teams and consulting.
Whether they’ve played for the Hall of Fame manager for 16 years or six, he leaves a lasting impression on his kids. Matt Diaz says, “He’s great to have as a manager. I remember last year one time, he had my back and I was wrong, so I apologized. He said, ‘Don’t worry about it. He’ll miss another [call] that we should argue.’ ”
Chipper says, “His loyalty is unmatched, that’s what separates him from any other manager”, while Gant says, “He’s an awesome guy, an awesome manager. It’s going to be hard for me to see him step down.” Tom Glavine describes the skipper as a “classy guy [who] treats everyone the same. You won’t find a lot of players that have the same competitive fire that he has when he comes out of the dugout.”
When Cox was asked why he gets such good support from his players, he responded, “I just treat them the way I would want to be treated by someone else. I don’t think my job is more important than the security guard’s.” His managing styles certainly paid off as he’s ranked fourth all time in regular season wins.
Although Cox will be remembered for his 14 straight division titles, five National League Pennants, 1995 World Series and four Manager of the Year awards, he will mostly be remembered for his love for the game and his players. He’s truly a player’s manager that all his kids would go to war for, just like he does for them every time he gets ejected.