Last night I saw the end of an era happening before my very eyes.
For years I grew up watching the Atlanta Braves on TBS. I remember watching the bad teams from the ‘80’s. Then the ‘90’s rolled around and Bobby Cox took over the reins as manager. Right then and there the Braves transformed from one of the worst in baseball into the team of the decade.
But like all good things, it came to an end after the Braves lost to the Giants 3-2 in Game 4 of the NLDS. Cox said this would be his last year, so the loss means Cox’s career as manager is now officially over.
His resume speaks for itself. The Tulsa native retires with 2,504 wins, 4th most all-time. Under his guidance, the Braves made 15 playoff appearances and won the 1995 World Series. He was named Manager of the Year 4 times, 3 as a Brave.
You never heard of any controversy surrounding Cox. The players loved him, and loved playing for him. That was displayed on the field and in the win column. He was the guy to play for. And Cox had no problem sticking up for his players. He holds the record with 158 ejections, plus 3 post-season ejections.
Growing up the Braves was one of those teams that you wanted to play for. I was fortunate enough to be on their radar, stepping onto a field in Wichita Falls and throwing for one of their scouts in the 100 degree heat. At the time, we are taking about the premier organization as far as pitching goes, with Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz anchoring the rotation. Plus they were stocked in the minors, so it was like Harvard calling and asking if you’re interested in medical school. The Braves were the one team that I would have bypassed college for.
So watching Cox walking from the dugout and down the hall one last time was a sight I could never prepare for. It was like watching your childhood end. I, like a lot of people, are sitting here wondering what to do now, other then never forgetting one of the greatest and more enjoyable stretch runs in the game.
Written by C. James