The San Francisco Giants helped push Bobby Cox into retirement undoubtedly slightly before he wanted to get there.
But that's the way the proverbial ball bounces and when it's October and you're talking Major League Baseball – anything can happen.
The Giants advanced to a National League Championship Series showdown against Philadelphia by outlasting the Atlanta Braves, 3-2, in Monday night's Game 4 of the Division Series.
“The city's been waiting a long time for something like this,” left fielder Pat Burrell said after the Giants triumphantly completed their first postseason series since 2003. “We can't wait to get home.”
The Giants also couldn't wait to get to their clubhouse to drench each other in beer and champagne. But they didn't let euphoria cloud their perspective. As the Turner Field crowd delivered one last ovation for Bobby Cox, the Braves' renowned manager whose career ended with this game, virtually every Giant stopped and joined the spectators in applauding him.
“He's such a legend in this game,” Giants second baseman Freddy Sanchez said. “It was only right that everybody paid their respect to him.”
Said Cox, “That was a nice gesture by the Giants. I love [manager Bruce] Bochy. He's one of the best guys in baseball. If we couldn't win, I'm glad he did.”
As a player, Cox originally signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but was never able to make the Dodgers' major league team. Eventually he was acquired by the Braves, but never appeared in an MLB game for them either. Instead, he was traded to the New York Yankees on December 7, 1967. Cox played two seasons, mostly at third base, for the Yankees. Because of bad knees, Cox became the second in a string of four stopgap players between Clete Boyer and Graig Nettles. He played with fellow Oklahoman Mickey Mantle during Mantle's final season in 1968 and with Thurman Munson during his debut season in 1969.
- New York Yankees Farm Team (1971 – 1977)
- Atlanta Braves (1978 – 1981 | 1986 – 2010)
- Toronto Blue Jays (1982 – 1985)
Cox has been named Manager of the Year four times (1985, 1991, 2004, and 2005) and is one of only four managers to have won the award in both the American and National League. He is also the only person to have won the award in consecutive years. Cox has also been named Manager of the Year by The Sporting News eight times (1985, 1991, 1993, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005).