Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre, three of MLB’s all-time winningest managers, were elected unanimously to the Baseball Hall of Fame Monday morning by the Expansion Era Committtee.
The three retired skippers will officially be inducted July 27 in Cooperstown, N.Y., along with whoever is elected by the Baseball Writers Association of America when voting results are announced next month.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am,” Torre said. “What makes it even better is to go in with these two guys … you know, we waged a lot of battles against each other. It’s just a great, great feeling.”
Cox, 72, managed the Atlanta Braves for 25 years, leading them to the 1995 World Series title and 14 straight division titles from 1991-2005. The Braves won the NL pennant in 1991, 1992, 1996 and 1999. He is fourth in career wins with a 2,504-2,001 record.
He also managed the Toronto Blue Jays for four seasons.
“The greatest manager any of us will know,” longtime Braves third baseman Chipper Jones said.
The only blemish on Cox’s record: The Braves captured only one World Series title despite all those trips to the postseason. Most disappointing was a loss to Torre’s Yankees in 1996 after the Braves dominated the first two games in New York.
La Russa, 69, managed the Chicago White Sox, Oakland A’s and St. Louis Cardinals, winning the World Series in 1989 with Oakland and in 2006 and 2011 with St. Louis. He is third in career wins with lifetime record of 2,728-2,365.
He had 70 postseason victories, trailing only Torre’s 84, and joined role model Sparky Anderson as the lone managers to win Series in both leagues.
In all, La Russa managed 12 first-place finishes and six pennants and was picked as Manager of the Year four times. He went to the World Series three straight years from 1988-90, and also lost in the Series in 2004 when the Cardinals were swept by Boston.
Torre, 73, led the New York Yankees to World Series titles in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000 and AL pennants in 2001 and 2003. He is fifth all time in wins with 2,326.
Before taking over as Yankees manager in 1996, Torre had had mixed success with the New York York Mets, Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals.
The former NL MVP won a division title with Atlanta in 1982 before the Braves were swept by the Cardinals in a five-game series. But he was fired from Atlanta in 1984 and then worked as an Angels broadcaster until St. Louis gave him the job late in the 1990 season. He was dismissed from that gig in 1995, finishing with winning records in each of his three full seasons.
Being born in Brooklyn and growing up a New York Giants fan didn’t help when he took over the Yankees at 55 — the 20th managerial change under George Steinbrenner. The Daily News called him “Clueless Joe,” and Steinbrenner even tried to bring back Buck Showalter — after hiring Torre.
But with a calm, nurturing demeanor, Torre quickly earned the respect of his players. He would sit next to his buddy and bench coach Don Zimmer in the dugout, his hat perched high on his head as he hardly moved for long stretches.
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Baseball Hall of Fame 2014: Cox, La Russa, Torre elected – SportingNews.com
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