Ramble On Sports

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Posts Tagged ‘2010 San Francisco Giants’

Cox calls it a career

Posted by Bill Koch on October 12, 2010

We would be slacking on our responsibilities here at Ramble On if we let tonight pass without a word about Bobby Cox, the Atlanta Braves’ manager who walked off the diamond for the final time after his club was dropped out of the National League Division Series by the San Francisco Giants in four games.

It’s oddly fitting that San Francisco is the team that ended Cox’s storied career, because he is one of the true modern giants of the game. We won’t see many men who last two uninterrupted decades with any baseball team in any capacity ever again. Free agency and durability questions make it virtually impossible as a player while the crushing demand to win and the impatience of ownership makes it virtually impossible as a manager or general manager.

Cox has survived the test of time thanks to brilliant pitching (Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and John Smoltz chief among them), clutch performances from a handful of terrific position players (Terry Pendleton, Ron Gant, David Justice, Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones and Brian McCann come to mind) and steady, understanding ownership (working for Ted Turner is much less complex than trying to last under the late George Steinbrenner, for example). It was a perfect storm of circumstances that brought Cox to the moment when he tipped his cap to the Turner Field crowd one last time after Monday’s 3-2 loss to San Francisco. It was all of the above that helped Cox lead his teams to 16 postseasons, a Major League Baseball record that should stand for a long while.

Want some local perspective? Let’s turn to the Boston Red Sox for some examples. Theo Epstein, the man who built the team that broke The Curse, can’t do it – he skipped town in a gorilla suit once before and won’t have the stomach to last under this spotlight forever. Terry Francona, the man who managed that Red Sox team and still currently fills out the lineup card, can’t do it – his health has been in decline since the day he took the job due to the incomparable stress of dealing with 162 one-game seasons per year. None of their players will be able to do it – pitchers both young (Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Daniel Bard) and old (Tim Wakefield) won’t last that long, the position players who were the cornerstones are gone (Manny Ramirez, Trot Nixon, Johnny Damon) or almost gone (David Ortiz, Jason Varitek), the veterans (Kevin Millar, Dave Roberts) have retired and moved on with their lives. None of those men who made history of their own can do what Cox has done. Very few in the game that we love the most can say that they have.

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