First person Cox tribute: John Holland

Braves visiting clubhouse manager John Holland, who’s worked for the organization for more than four decades, on retiring Braves manager Bobby Cox:

“Bobby treats everybody with respect. Everybody Bobby meets is a friend.

John Holland has worked 42 years in the Braves organization, starting out as a 15-year-old batboy in 1968, and later as an equipment manager and clubhouse manager. He counts Cox among his closest friends in the game.

John Holland has worked 42 years in the Braves organization, starting out as a 15-year-old batboy in 1968, and later as an equipment manager and clubhouse manager. He counts Cox among his closest friends in the game.

“Being around him so long, we’re good friends. We’ve done things outside of baseball; we’ve cut wood together. Yeah, he’s one of my good friends. Someone I look up to, always have.

“When he was managing [the Braves] the first time, he made everything fun. He still makes everything fun. He makes you want to improve yourself. He makes you want to do a good job, not just for him but to take pride in what you’re doing and go after what you want to do.

“When he was general manager, we had so much fun because when the team was on the road. He’d come down to the clubhouse or he’d call the clubhouse and say, ‘Come on upstairs, let’s sit and talk.’

“Since he’s been back as manager, the years we’ve had together, everything’s flown by. It’s just been such a pleasure to work with Bobby. To work for him, work with him, be his friend, whatever.

“Like I said before, he’s somebody you want to do anything in the world for, and you want to see all the success come to him. And you get mad if you hear somebody say something against him. I mean, it really … Sometimes you’ll hear people say, ‘Ah, he’s cheerleading,’ or whatever. And you’re thinking, if those people were playing for Bobby, they’d be right there with him.

“He’s behind his players, he’s behind his people, all the way. Anybody. Everybody. He’s behind them 100 percent. If something goes wrong he’ll call you in and talk to you inside. He doesn’t embarrass people. In fact, if he sees somebody being embarrassed, he takes issue with it. He doesn’t like to see that.

“That’s why [earlier this season], that thing with Fredi [Gonzalez, when Gonzalez was fired as Marlins manager]. Fredi’s one of his guys, so Bobby was ready to fight. That’s what is so special about him. And the players see that, and they see it from the other dugout, too.

“You can’t count the number of times I’ve been in here [with visiting team players] and they can hear Bobby on the television – ‘Come on, now,’ – cheering, rah-rah, from the dugout. And the people who know what he’s about, they say, ‘I’d like to hear more of that. I’d like to be in that dugout.’

“And I’ve heard people say they like the way the Braves teams play the game. They play hard, but they play fair. It’s none of those cheap tricks, showmanship one-upsmanship. The Braves don’t do that. That’s special, too. To be part of a group that is respected in that way. And that’s all Bobby. It’s all Bobby.

“Managers act differently. You see some managers try some psychological things to try to upset somebody. The Braves go out and play the game, and that’s it. If you get beat, you get beat. If you win, you win. But you do it fairly.”

Previous tributes:

Tom Glavine

Bobby Dews

Fredi Gonzalez

Royals GM Dayton Moore

Jeff Francoeur

Pete Van Wieren

Umpire Dan Iassogna

Joe Torre

20 comments Add your comment


September 29th, 2010
7:49 pm

Really enjoy these tributes… nice to hear from the insiders. Thanks!

It's out of here.....

September 29th, 2010
7:53 pm

I came on several times and posted how the braves were done and wouldn’t win but a few games and miss the playoffs.

I will admit I was wrong and I am thankful to do so. I hope they continue to win and don’t blow it now.


September 29th, 2010
8:25 pm

It ain’t over ’til it’s over, as Yogi would say, and I hope Bobby has about 15 more wins in his career.

Either way, he has brought hope and respectability to Atlanta Sports. No Atlanta team had been to a Championship game or series before the ‘91 World Series.

Tom Glavine brought up an excellent point: when the Braves were winning their division year after year the critics said “well, of COURSE he’s winning with THOSE players and pitchers” and any year they didn’t win the World Series it was Bobby’s fault.

As we might say in the military? Whiskey – Tango – Foxtrot?

Bobby Cox is a Prince of a Baseball Man.

People who would criticize his baseball accumen would bad-mouth Mother Theresa’s compassion or Abraham Lincoln’s leadership.

Sacks are Full

September 29th, 2010
8:43 pm

The more of these I read the more I think Bobby is gonna be missed. Thanks Dave for the writing.


September 29th, 2010
10:10 pm

…say what you will about his team, I may even agree with some of it but he took them from worst to first the year I graduated from high school ….I was 33 years old before they fell out of first place.

Thanks Mr.Cox for making the best years of my life that much better…


September 29th, 2010
11:15 pm

Dave, these tributes represent some of the best reporting and writing I’ve seen in years of reading sports news. I agree with Sacks, the more I read, the more I know Bobby will be missed. Thanks for doing this.


September 29th, 2010
11:38 pm

I wouldn’t bring up Abe Lincoln if I were you…

@It's out of here...

September 30th, 2010
1:10 am

The Braves and their true fans don’t need fair-weather supporters like yourself. It’s pathetic. Go root for the would fit in with their front-running fans. At least Mets fans stick by their team through tough times because we all know that if the Braves start struggling you will jump off the bandwagon as you’ve previously stated. Spoiled and pathetic. Loser.

The Big Dog

September 30th, 2010
8:57 am

I also think these tributes are great. If 1/100 of the people I work with said anything remotely this nice about me when I retired I’d feel like I did a good job.


September 30th, 2010
12:59 pm

Everyone loves a winner ( or they should ). Bobby Cox turned around a terrible ballclub and put together a impressive string of division titles and World Series appearances. I remember going to a lot of games in the early 90’s, the excitement, the chop, the whole thrill of having a winner. That is Bobby Cox.


September 30th, 2010
2:01 pm

I also really enjoy these tributes to Bobby from the people who really know him and I also really enjoyed reading the Bobby Cox Commemorative Program cover to cover with more tributes from players/managers/coaches/fans – very few people in the world have this many positive things said about them from so many different folks. It’s just inspiring stuff.


September 30th, 2010
9:46 pm

John Holland is a class act himself. Almost 20 years ago I attended Braves Fantasy Camp. Long story, short… there was a small problem and John seemed to go out of his way to make it good. Casey Stevenson was there then, too, adn I think helped as I recall. I bet John could write one heckuva book. Thanks for nice tribute to Bobby Cox. The man is an Atlanta – and baseball – icon.

Chief Knockahoma X

September 30th, 2010
10:53 pm

Bobby is da man. I will be there Saturday for his tribute, chopping my azz off. Chop! Chop!

Ron Hyatt

October 1st, 2010
12:56 am

“Almost 20 years ago I attended Braves Fantasy Camp.”
JA770, No, you didn’t.

09/27/2010 3:33 PM ET
Atlanta Braves announce _inaugural_ Fantasy Camp January 2011

Or some moron college gradumate in the Braves PR dept doesn’t know what “inaugural” means.


October 1st, 2010
10:01 am

Have enjoyed these very much, thanks Carroll and DOB.

[...] John Holland [...]

David O'Brien

October 1st, 2010
11:02 am

Thanks for the kind words, everybody. I think we enjoyed doing these as much as most of you’ve liked reading them.

Big Dog, re: your 8:57 comment: Ain’t that the truth? I’ve thought same thing.


October 1st, 2010
2:09 pm

John, though I have not been in the clubhouse since ‘85 I stand with you on your praise of Bobby. I have followed from afar but I will always be a Brave. Say hey to Don Shea for me!

[...] John Holland [...]

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