The big sports headline from Monday night (October 11) was the New York Jets victory over the embattled Minnesota Vikings on a rain-soaked, controversy-heavy field of play. But before Brett Favre threw the game-ending touchdown pass that happened to be for the other team, the San Francisco Giants completed their run through the first round of the Major League Baseball playoffs, knocking off the Atlanta Braves by a score of 3-2 to take the series. The Giants will go on to face the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League Championship Series, which will kick off this Saturday, October 16. While the game represented forward motion for the Giants, it represented the end of the line for the Braves — and more specifically for manager Bobby Cox, who is hanging up the spurs after 29 seasons as a skipper.
Cox was one of the most respected names in baseball, as he has spent the past two decades as the guy who makes the Braves run. In that time, the team finished in first place a staggering 14 times, advanced to five World Series and took home the championship once. Along the way (including his first stint with the Braves and his brief gig as the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays), Cox amassed a total of 2,504 wins, which puts him fourth on the list of all-time managerial wins (behind Connie Mack, John McGraw and Tony La Russa). He also won Manager of the Year four times and holds the distinction of being the most ejected person in baseball history (Cox has been tossed an amazing 158 times).
Considering that last statistic, you would think Cox would be something of a lunatic, but in fact he was a true gentleman who merely approached the game with incredible passion. Cox was old school, and he managed with an even hand and a fiery demeanor. His exit was emblematic of his approach to the game, as he merely tipped his cap, gave a wave to the fans and quietly walked off the field for the last time. Cox will continue to assist the Braves in an official capacity, but his days on the bench are at an end. In honor of Cox — a true class act and one of the last great old-school baseball minds — dig Kenny Wayne Shepherd's "Last Goodbye."