For the first time in the history of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, three of the greatest managers of a generation -- Bobby Cox, Joe Torre and Tony La Russa -- will be inducted on the same day this coming summer.
The three, who accumulated 7,558 regular-season wins, 17 pennants and eight World Series titles, were elected unanimously by the 16-member Expansion Era Committee during a lengthy meeting on Sunday. The announcement by Hall of Fame chairman Jane Forbes Clark was made on Monday morning as the annual Winter Meetings began.
Cox spent 25 of his 29 seasons as a big league manager with the Braves, winning the 1995 World Series and 14 consecutive division titles. Torre, who managed for 29 seasons, won six pennants and four World Series with the Yankees in an eight-year period from 1996-2003. La Russa managed for 33 years, winning it all once with the A's and twice with the Cardinals. They all were notified of their elections at about 8:30 a.m. ET.
La Russa, Torre and Cox rank third, fourth and fifth in managerial victories in Major League history, each winning more than 2,000 games. Only Connie Mack (3,731) and John McGraw (2,763) won more games than La Russa (2,728), Cox (2,504) and Torre (2,326).
They will enter the Hall of Fame on the second day of Induction Weekend, to be held July 26-27 in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Cox's election is matched up with the candidacies on the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot of two Braves pitchers, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, who pitched together for Cox for a decade and between them spent 28 seasons with Atlanta. Maddux totaled 355 wins and Glavine won 305.
"I'm still getting goose bumps," Cox said. "I'm excited to be in Cooperstown in July and get inducted. It's the greatest honor you can have in baseball. I'm going in with great company. I'm just hoping that Glav and Mad Dog can be up there on the stage with me. They were two of the guys who got me there, or helped get me there. That would be the final, finishing touch, going in with those two."
Cox, Torre and La Russa were among 12 people on the Expansion Era ballot, which included another landmark skipper, Billy Martin; players Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Dave Parker, Dan Quisenberry and Ted Simmons; Marvin Miller, the influential executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association; and iconic Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner.
The selection of the three managers provided an epic highlight. Monday's announcement assured that the 2014 induction weekend will be one of the most widely attended and covered ever.
Torre and Cox had each attended one recent induction each, while La Russa has never been to one.
Cox compiled a 2,504-2,001 (.556) record in his 29 seasons, which included four managing the Blue Jays. His Braves won the 1995 World Series while capturing five National League pennants during his 25 years with Atlanta. Cox led Atlanta to a record 14 straight division titles from 1991-2005.
La Russa had a 2,728-2,365 (.536) record in 33 seasons, winning the World Series with the A's in 1989 and the Cardinals in 2006 and '11. He also guided Oakland to three American League pennants (1988-90) in 10 seasons and the Cards to three NL pennants (2004, '06 and '11) in 16 years. La Russa also spent eight seasons managing the White Sox, taking them to the AL Championship Series in 1983.
Following an 18-year playing career in which he had a .297 batting average and one batting title, Torre posted a 2,326-1,997 record, good for a .538 winning percentage. Torre led the Yankees to Series titles in 1996, '98, '99 and 2000 (in addition to 100-win seasons in 1998 and from 2002-04), and six AL pennants. He spent his first 14 seasons a manager with the Mets, Braves and Cardinals, and finished his career managing the Dodgers in 2010. Torre took his teams in New York and Los Angeles into the playoffs every year from 1996-2009.
The 16-member electorate charged with the review of the Expansion Era ballot consisted of Hall of Famers Rod Carew, Carlton Fisk, Whitey Herzog, Tommy Lasorda, Paul Molitor, Joe Morgan, Niekro, and Frank Robinson; Major League executives Paul Beeston of the Blue Jays, Dave Montgomery of the Phillies, Reinsdorf and Andy MacPhail, formerly of the Twins, Cubs and Orioles. They were joined by historians Steve Hirdt of Elias Sports Bureau, Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle, Jack O'Connell, secretary-treasurer of the BBWAA, and Jim Reeves, recently retired from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
---- Source: MLB.com
During his 32-year managerial career, Bobby Cox racked up a record 158 ejections. Pictured here, Cox glares at the umpire and then receives the heave-ho from the late Wally Bell.
- Photo2 by Tim Evearitt