06/09/09 1:57 AM ET
Cox notches 2,000th win with Braves
Players pay respects as manager gets to rare milestone
By Mark Bowman / MLB.com
Cox's momentary lapse of memory could easily be explained by the fact that so much had occurred during the four-hour, 46-minute game his Braves had just played. Or maybe by the fact that he's experienced so much more since the night of April 10, 1978, when Chaney delivered a ninth-inning pinch-hit homer that gave the Braves an 8-7 win over the Padres at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.
Chaney's home run provided Cox his first win as a Major League manager. His 2,000th victory as the Braves' manager came courtesy of a David Ross infield single that completed a 7-6, 15-inning win over the Pirates at Turner Field on Monday night.
"It's not a big deal at all," Cox said. "It's something you don't think about. All it means is you're getting old and you've been around a long time."
Cox has been successful long enough to rank fourth on Major League Baseball's all-time list with 2,355 career wins. This latest milestone makes him just the fourth manager to record 2,000 wins with one club.
The others to accomplish this were Connie Mack (A's), John McGraw (Giants) and Walter Alston (Dodgers), who are all enshrined in the Hall of Fame that seemingly already has a spot reserved for Cox.
"It's just another notch in his Hall of Fame belt," said Braves third baseman Chipper Jones. "He's the best there is and we're all happy for him. We're sorry it took five hours to get it for him. But I think he'll take it, nonetheless."
While Jones has been a mainstay in Cox's lineup since 1995, Braves All-Star catcher Brian McCann now finds himself with the privilege of playing for the manager that he watched throughout his youthful days, growing up in suburban Atlanta.
"I grew up idolizing this team and idolizing Bobby Cox from a young age," McCann said. "To be a part of this is amazing. He's one of the greatest managers of all time and I'm blessed to play for him."
Cox began his managerial career with the Braves in 1978 and remained in that role until he was dismissed after the 1981 season. Given the opportunity to lead the Blue Jays during the '82 season, he then enjoyed a successful four-season stint in Toronto before returning to Atlanta.
During a five-season stint as the Braves' general manager from 1985-90, Cox added the managerial role to his duties midway through the 1990 season and has remained on the Braves' bench since that time. In the process, he led the organization to 14 consecutive division titles, five National League pennants and one World Series championship.
While acknowledging the fact that the current market makes it hard to envision another manager having the opportunity to win 2,000 games with one organization, Cox once again gave credit to his players.
"I've been lucky," Cox said. "We've always had great players here and I've been able to keep going. If you get that many, you've had some good players."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.