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Bobby Cox Can See the Sunset He's Riding Into

It's official: Eventually, Bobby Cox will retire. Barring a tragic and sudden passing in the next 12 months, he'll leave baseball while he's still a living, breathing member of the earth.

That in itself may seem like a bit of a surprise. To many, the biggest surprise about Cox's announcement that he'd come to terms on a one-year extension is that he announced his retirement at the same time. As he put it, the only way Cox was ever going to retire was by giving himself a time line and sticking to it. Now he has one.

"If I weren't announcing this right now, I'd be wanting to manage again somewhere," Cox said. "But it's time to go ahead and say it. I don't think I'd ever give up the idea of managing, unless I could say, 'That's it,' and that's what I'm saying, is that it's it.

"I don't want to announce my retirement and have a day here and a day there. This gives me a chance to say goodbye to the writers, the clubhouse guys, the grounds crew guys that I've known forever, who have given us time on the field when they didn't have to with early workouts. Guys you meet in the game over 50 years are pretty precious."

With 2010 as Cox's swan song, it's hard not to reflect on just how amazing his managerial career has been. The Atlanta skipper has a career record of 2408-1924, nearly a full 500 games above .500. His 28 seasons with the Braves and Blue Jays (he was manager in Toronto from 1982-85, winning 99 games and the AL East in 1985) saw the four-time league manager of the year (three NL, one AL) rack up 15 division crowns, five National League titles and the Atlanta organization's one, lone World Series title in 1995.

So, where does Cox belong in the pantheon of great baseball managers? He has the fourth most managerial victories in baseball history, trailing only Hall of Famers Connie Mack and John McGraw and surefire future Hall of Famer Tony LaRussa. He won't catch LaRussa -- he's almost 150 wins behind LaRussa's total -- and Joe Torre could eventually surpass Cox's win total if he manages as long as Cox has, but that would still keep the 69-year old Cox in the top-5 of the managerial wins list.

Is Bobby Cox a first-ballot Hall of Famer? Will he ever get in? Or is the damage of only winning one World Series despite 14 straight playoff appearances too much of a stain on his record? (please note that we're presenting that last option for the sake of argument and don't believe a word of it ... just so we don't get strung up by enraged Atlanta fans)

By Cameron Smith  |  September 24, 2009; 1:08 PM ET
Categories:  Braves  | Tags: Bobby Cox, Braves, Hall of Fame, managers  
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