Goose bumps all around for rousing on-field Cox tribute – updated

For most of Saturday’s tribute celebrating his retirement, Braves manager Bobby Cox hid his emotion behind a pair of aviator sunglasses.

They were part of his usual get-up – home whites, red-billed Braves cap, and of course his metal spikes. But when Cox put up his right hand to wave at a roaring crowd at Turner Field, one he had just thanked in the last of his speech from the podium, he had what looked to be a handkerchief or a tissue crumpled up in his right hand.

After the game, in the quiet in his office, with the pain of a 7-0 loss to the Phillies weighing heavy in the room, and shower water already running in the background, Cox admitted to the media that he did get a little emotional.

The assumption was it might have been when Chipper Jones raised goose bumps around the record crowd of 54,296 when he said: “I’ve been trying to make you proud for 20 years.”

But Cox said it was something Jones said to him after that, when he leaned in to give him a hug, that choked him up. Cox didn’t want to divulge what it was, but Jones did.

It was three words.

“Told him I loved him,” Jones clarified.

Jones had taken the podium, in between speeches by Braves CEO Terry McGuirk and president John Schuerholz, with the idea that he would speak for hundreds of Cox’s former players. But it might have been the three words he said walking away from it that spoke the loudest.

Cox has always been known as a player’s manager. A group of 76 former players and coaches seated in white chairs on the infield grass, wearing their old Braves jerseys in tribute to their former manager, showed what that means.

Greg Maddux had flown in for a rare visit from his home in Las Vegas. Jeff Blauser, who has lived a very private post-baseball life, was there from his home in the Atlanta suburbs. Hall of Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry played for Cox for only one year, in 1981. He was there.

Fred McGriff was making a rare trip back, on a day his son was playing college football for Kansas.

“Bobby loves his guys,” said Dale Murphy, who made the trip in from Utah. “And that’s very motivating, no matter how long you’ve played.”

On Saturday they showed him their love back.

“The one constant of all the runs has been Bobby Cox,” Blauser said. “And it’s the way he treats his players as an equal, as a peer. No doubt he’s great manager; his record proves that. But he’s also a teammate. And that’s how we viewed him.”

Saturday’s ceremony began with a parade of pennants, one carried for each of his 25 years as manager of the Braves, including his 14 straight division titles and World Series in 1995. It featured two video montages and video messages from Commissioner Bud Selig and former Braves owner Ted Turner.

He was greeted by Atlanta opera tenor Timothy Miller, who sang the national anthem, a T-38 jet flyover, and an early-arriving majority of the largest regular season crowd in Atlanta history.

Schuerholz presented a portrait of him in a familiar pose, one leg up on the steps in the Braves dugout, right hand on his hip, left hand on the railing.

Then they rolled out a 2010 Black Lexus LS 460 with a red bow on top, which Cox gave a familiar one-clap of approval usually reserved for one of his players digging into the batter’s box.

The Braves players presented Cox and his wife Pam with an 11-day cruise to the Mediterranean.

“It was unbelievably great,” Cox said. “More than one could ever expect. I’m thankful to the fans and Braves. I wish we’d given them a better game.”

Cox has had all season and tributes around baseball to prepare for the end. But on the eve of the last and biggest tribute, he said that this season has flown by, as always.

“It feels like my whole career has flown by,” Cox said. “Nothing but a blur right now.”

Hall-of-Fame knuckleballer Phil Niekro could relate. And that crossed his mind sitting there on the infield.

“My heart was almost breaking for him,” said Niekro, who retired from baseball at age 48. “Whether it be a day or a week or a year a month, it’s going to hit him. Not being able to come to this field every day and put that uniform on. He’ll probably never get over it.”

54 comments Add your comment

Bravo

October 2nd, 2010
5:24 pm

Win it for Bobby!

Silly Goose

October 2nd, 2010
5:27 pm

CMON BOYS!!! WIN IT FOR BOBBY!!!!

boston braves

October 2nd, 2010
5:31 pm

got to tip your cap

Andrew

October 2nd, 2010
5:39 pm

LETS GO BRAVES!!! Kick some Philly butt! Bobby cox= Bobby Rox!

buzz29

October 2nd, 2010
5:43 pm

Carroll,

Could you put together a blog of the gifts and other tributes from opposing teams this year? Other than the the fish, teams have been very gracious towards Bobby this year.

Go Jackets!

RHR

October 2nd, 2010
5:55 pm

Good stuff, as always.

Kevin

October 2nd, 2010
6:29 pm

Bobby Cox continues to make error after error this weekend. Conrad costs you the biggest game of the year yesterday and you stick him back at 3B where he has looked awful the past few games. I would take Glaus or Hinske over him at 3B or even move Conrad to 2B and Infante to 3B. Way to go out losing vs. a team that has nothing to play for Bobby!

Kevin

October 2nd, 2010
6:30 pm

And Johnny Venters is clearly overworked you put him in 1 inning max. Craig Kimbrel has been our best middle reliever and we bring him in in meaningless situations. Good luck vs. Hamels and Oswalt tomorrow.

MIBravesFan

October 2nd, 2010
6:56 pm

Thanks Carroll.

Jason

October 2nd, 2010
7:06 pm

Lose it for Bobby! Needs to go out as a loser. That’s all he’s been his entire career here. Division titles are nice, but they don’t matter. Gotta win when it counts, and he can’t do it. Instead of all these celebrations, they should have been concentrating on the game. There’s time for congratulations about retirement after the season!

Gary H

October 2nd, 2010
7:08 pm

Jason, you’re a real class act’

Jason

October 2nd, 2010
7:34 pm

Thanks Gary! That means a lot coming from you.

What a way to finish your career Bobby! Go out on top!

Jason

October 2nd, 2010
7:37 pm

What a huge embarassment this is. I wish I had paid $50 to go to this game so I could boo my lungs out at this team.

Philly Phanatic

October 2nd, 2010
7:38 pm

I’ve been out all afternoon to come home and see the Phils up Pads won and welcome to your nightmare. I didn’t even think the Braves scould blow this one but my god 3 hits! Against I guess what would be similar to yout Beachey but not as much experience. They’re showing the Braves dugout now. What happened to all of that jumping around after all of the 9th inning comebacks. It looks like a morgue. I told you all along you weren’t that good. The only reason you’re as far as where you are wre the comebacks which is not a basis of a good team but a very lucky team. It’s so much sweeter to me it’s some Phils I’ve never heard their name. It’s as if the Braves know they didn’t belong here but… wait another run 6-0. There’s not much to say is there gang. It’s a rather large size choke and I do get pleasure for all the negative comments directed my way and towards the team, and the city. It all came back and bit you you pack of losers. Seito just walked a typical red neck Atlanta fan, Andy of Mayberry to make it 7-0, See ya next year. Can’t wait to read this obituary column. Where is everybody? Ibanez just missed a grand slam. This is hilarious.

Jason

October 2nd, 2010
7:41 pm

Philly Phanatic, god I wish I were a Phillies fan. Maybe I’ll switch over after the Braves lose tomorrow. Will feel nice to follow some winners.

Ken Shelton

October 2nd, 2010
8:01 pm

For Braves fans that have followed the team since the dismal squads of the 1970’s and ’80’s era obviously felt many heartaches…Difference was those days, fans didn’t expect much from that bunch of laughable-losers. Today, makes a day many Braves fans no doubt will agree will go down as one of the biggest heart-heart-wrenching downers in the history of Atlanta Braves baseball. As a mere 48 hours back, seemingly all the odds were stacked in the Braves favor, playing in front of sell out crowds at home, and the Division Champ Phillips resting two of their three top starting pitchers. Consider today, as opposing starter who has logged a meager 8 total previous big league innings, and result was, the pitcher mowed down the lifeless Braves lineup like a Randy Johnson in his prime. Fact was simple, the Braves players appeared to just be going through the motions, absent of any sense of urgency. At this point with stakes as they are, players should be leaving it all on the field, diving for balls, etc. I’ll state once again, I offer fault to several areas, bad choice of lineups, bad approach by hitters when at the plate, often leaving in pitchers one batter too long. Now the odds seem stacked against the Braves entering what may be the final game ever for Bobby Cox. Considering this is a strange and hard to predict game of baseball, let’s hope our Bravos have one final minor miracle in their might and send fans of the southeast out happy!

Philly Phanatic

October 2nd, 2010
8:02 pm

Where is everybody? After sweeping ther Marlins I had to laugh. There was talk about going to the World Series. I guess I’m not going to get much company as when you have a stroke it’s hard to type. Raise your hands, how many of you think you’re going to win the World Series? Tomorrow the Phils are going to do what they do best, win. Most teams would have laid down with everything clinched. I almost wanted the Braves to somehow win the WC as the Phils will sweep the Reds. Just not enough pitching. Now we may get the Pads or Giants so I would rather see you somehow win the WC. Don’t expect the Phils to lay down and you have zero control of Pads/Giants. Largest crowd in Braves history yet the quietest at the end. In Philly we would boo their pathetic asses off for not even putting up a fight. 17-5 in two games. Awesome pitching Braves, your alledged strong suit. C’mon where is everybody, Bat, you’re ususally good for some nonsense. Slow evening.

Go Braves Go

October 2nd, 2010
8:14 pm

I hope Cincinnati sweeps the Phillies in four straight. Now that would warm this old gal’s heart.

Tim

October 2nd, 2010
8:17 pm

Jason, I won’t hold my breath waiting for the multitude of people in your life that call you the greatest at anything..Such a sad bag of gas you are…No get back to your mom’s basement and return to typing furiously about your trivial little life.
Thank you Bobby Cox for the great things you’ve done for Atlanta and for baseball.

justin1

October 2nd, 2010
8:24 pm

Un-be-lievable. Wow.

justin1

October 2nd, 2010
8:27 pm

One game. Just one game. Are we really that bad? Are the Phillies that good? They run out their ‘I dont care if we win or lose’ team and shut us out on 3 hits?! Only thing we can hope for now is that their flair for the dramatic can come back in the most ultimate of ways tomorrow. Maybe then we’ll look at this team as a team of destiny instead as a team of choke artists.

stoky

October 2nd, 2010
9:08 pm

the lawn guys should have cut a big ZERO in the outfield grass…… STINKING BRAVES

kreedham

October 2nd, 2010
9:12 pm

To Go Braves Go…if Cincy wins 3 straight they won’t play a 4th.

Now maybe the Braves need to just play their rest day players…Ross, Hinske,etc seems like the others are too tired!

David

October 2nd, 2010
9:30 pm

You are such a disappointment it is like you want to stay home during the postseason!! Well hope you enjoy it!!! UGH!!!

Turd Ferguson

October 2nd, 2010
9:40 pm

Baseball fans usually get overexcited about theyre team at AS break. I knew after 162 games the Phils would be the last one standing.Please don’t bring up injurys , been down that road , Phils had more. This weekend is truely embarrasing for Brave fans , what a beatdown , what if Phils had something to play for ? Didn’t you realize 3 weeks ago it won’t matter if you make the WC or not , your only putting off the inevitable. Phils are big red train that knowones stopping. When they go back to theyre 3rd WS in a row that will eclipse your division run , its been almost 70 years since an NL team went to 3 series in a row. Next year theyre all back , well not all , Ruben will improve middle relief and make a few changes , because every game is a sellout the team has money to spend , try it sometime.

[...] in each other’s fates.  Simplest case is we win tomorrow, the Braves are gone–some of them forever–and the Padres win, splitting the NL West into a champion and a Wild [...]

bravesgrl4lifeeeee

October 2nd, 2010
10:02 pm

Tho the Braves didn’t win today, the tribute to Bobby made it worth being there. I am proud to have been there wearing my “Thanks Bobby” shirt and hanging out for a while with Scott Munn and the “Thanks Bobby” crew.

Jason, go take a freaking hike and never show your face on a Braves blog again. We detest people like you :mad:

Mark Duncan

October 2nd, 2010
10:10 pm

I think the Braves win the wild card. That being said the Braves have taken the apple in a major way and there’s no apparent explanation. The team has won 90 games and bad teams don’t have 90 wins. I thought the Braves were tougher than this. Maybe they are…..Go Braves!

Braves politics

October 2nd, 2010
11:15 pm

Glaus is 3 for 7 against Hamels with a homer and Conrad is hitless against him.Who do you think is starting third tomorrow. Go figure.Bobby Cox chokes on his cigar. See ya next year Braves fans

ATLgirl

October 2nd, 2010
11:38 pm

was at the ceremony and have to say that Chippers speech was probably the best. the crowd was amazing! it was definitely a goose bump worthy event (and a few tears) Incredible ceremony for an incredible manager. Best EVER!

hope we can get him a win… and send us in to the post season (or close)

Texas Braves Fan

October 2nd, 2010
11:40 pm

I can smell the braves offense all the way over here in Dallas…

Braves politics

October 2nd, 2010
11:47 pm

Which is worse Braves defense or offense? This is not the team that got into first place. These are a bunch of losers who have no desire to win a ring.

Tomahawk Holmes

October 3rd, 2010
1:11 am

i’ve watched thousands of Braves games and attended a couple hundred. this feels like my best friend is moving to other side of the world. baseball won’t ever be the same.

awesome tribute. i thought #6 might be hanging next to 47 and 31 by then end. WHY DIDN’T THE BRAVES RETIRE #6? is there a rule that they have to wait or would it have been a bigger distraction?

anyways… GO BRAVES!!! SQUEEZE A WIN ON SUNDAY!!!

DEP

October 3rd, 2010
1:29 am

Lets win this last and deciding game for Bobby….Lets not go down and watch the Playoffs lets go to the Playoffs and show the world that this season was not a fluke even though we have not a lot of Offense back in the 90’s we had Pitching, Hudson can will it for us and hope that San Francisco still cares about winning their Division and send the Very lucky Padres home. Padres only really have 1 ace in the hole and it is their Bullpen, SF needs to blow out the Padres, and if the Braves win it is Playoffs even if we lose and SD loses we still have Lowe for Monday’s Game but let;s hope we get it done today. Tomorrows’ Headlines…”Bobby Cox and The Braves back to the Playoffs 1 More Time…Brand New Season…!”

Jughead Obama

October 3rd, 2010
2:03 am

Thank you Bobby Cox for finally packing your shat and leaving 5 years too late.

Tim Hudson

October 3rd, 2010
4:00 am

Hope I get an early exit tomorrow. I still need to pack some $#!!+

Pete Rose

October 3rd, 2010
4:04 am

If Braves win tomorrow,baseball is truly fixed. Braves are the crappiest team in baseball. Braves should only be allowed to compete against the Pirates. Pirates would be a playoff caliber team if they played the Braves a 162 times a year.

cam

October 3rd, 2010
7:11 am

It is truly sad that people are bashing the Braves in a article that is supposed to be about honoring Bobby Cox. If the Braves don’t go to the playoffs well,then maybe they don’t deserve to be there. I attended the game and yes it was painful to watch. However, seeing all the old players like Maddux, Blauser, Lemke and others took me back to 1991. Our current team may not do it this year but you have to ask yourself, would they have come this far without someone at the helm as brilliant as Bobby Cox?

cam

October 3rd, 2010
7:13 am

and yes I know, Maddux wasn’t there in 1991…

Maximus Decimus Meridius

October 3rd, 2010
7:49 am

Memo to my fellow Phils Phans:

Lay off the juvenile chest-beating, it makes us look small and insecure.

Say what you want about Bobby Cox’s record in the playoffs, or his interesting line-up choices, but the man and at least historically the franchise have both acted with class.

Perhaps the 9th inning comebacks created the illusion of a better team? 90 wins is pretty darn good, but this year its not enough.

Are you not entertained?

Pete Rose

October 3rd, 2010
9:35 am

What made Bobby Cox so great? Glavine,Smoltz and Maddux. Oh and some D. Wren you boob. Resign and let the Braves get someone that doesn’t micro manage his job and has a desire to win a ring not do things based on a budget. Braves should not have a manager next year and let 162 fans manage each game.

Nelson Muntz

October 3rd, 2010
9:35 am

Word Maximus. Phillies fans (myself included) should NOT beat our chests. We have a long history of ineptitude and don’t have a long track record of success. One game and round of playoffs (knock on wood) at a time.

How cheap are the Braves organization? A Lexus is a nice luxury car, but how about a BMW or Mercedes for Cox? The portrait of Bobby in uniform was nice, but posters of the print will be handed out to fans. The bench made out of bats and balls autographed by former players was interesting but CHEESY! Chipper Jones saved the day by rallying the players to chip in for an 11 day cruise to the Mediterranean!! Such gratitude for 2,500 wins????

Conversely, the Phightin’ Phils went above and beyond for Roy Halliday. In honor of the Perfect Game in May of this year, the organization presented Halliday with a ring, his WIFE a special pendant, his KIDS a molded cast of their father’s hand holding a perfect game ball, gave Halliday (his 2nd) and catcher CARLOS RUIZ special rings. Ruiz also received home plate from marlins stadium. Oh, and as a throw-in, Halliday is treated to an authentic portrait of him in front of the scoreboard.

Scott

October 3rd, 2010
10:43 am

Well, anyone who is a true sports fan with any love for the game knows that these fans coming on here calling themselves Philly fans are not really true fans. True fans of any team love their club so much that they always remember the sting that so very often occurs in the baseball playoffs. Overwhelming odds are that the Phillies get knocked out by some team in the playoffs- most likely a team that performed at a lower level during the regular season. That is baseball. True Philly fans that I have spoken to have stated their respect for Cox and have stated something like “I have been there” when it comes to disgusting defeats. These fleas that are coming on here do not have a history of dealing with defeat that keeps them humble- because they are only fans when the Phillies are good. Have a great life jumping on the bandwagon wannabees- you will find that you will do that with everything in life and it will take you nowhere. That is why despite your comments- I already know that I have won over you- you sad pathetic angry simps.

Scott

October 3rd, 2010
10:49 am

One more thing. Did you see how every single player who was anyone for the Braves showed up yesterday. I did not see one single significant player who was absent (maybe there was, but, I looked through the names). Heck, the Yankees announcer of over 50 years who the players said they loved so much died and none of them showed up for his funeral. Bobby Cox retired and his players came from everywhere to be there. That definitely shows something about the Braves’ organization. You can have as many titles as you can buy- if that makes you insecure fair weather fans feel good about yourselves- I love the brotherhood that the Braves organization has. Any true fan would have to say “wow” when they saw that name list that showed up yesterday and the love that these ex players have for the Braves and their manager. Brave for life!

Bill Williams

October 3rd, 2010
11:59 am

Come what may, the Braves have given me and all their real fans a ton of joy this year, playing through adversity, never giving up, etc. I have seen this team time and time again come back from certain defeat and if they do today fantastic and if they don’t well, thanks for the memories all the same. All i ask is for them to try their best. Yesterday, they seemed to have the look of defeat in their eyes and did the one thing I cannot excuse them for: they gave up.

Take heart Braves fans..it’s in the hands of fate and lets not hope in Conrad’s throwing arm…

bobby

October 3rd, 2010
12:44 pm

As big of critic of Bobby as I am, he cannot go out and hit for them. And they called the 1961 Mets the hitless wonders.

Nelson Muntz

October 3rd, 2010
6:30 pm

Hey Scott. Get off your high-horse. I am a season ticket holder for the Phillies I have yet to see a (emphasis) noticeable contingent of Braves fans from the metro Atlanta area. With all the success your team had, I expect much, much more. Even the “bandwagoners” from your neck of the woods don’t head north. Spare me.

Hey-o!

October 4th, 2010
4:08 am

Why would anyone spend money to go to Philly?? <——-HAHAHAHAHA philly is for losers…hawaii is for winners. Braves all day!!!

Hey-o!

October 4th, 2010
4:09 am

I laugh at anyone who actually lives in Philly. Its much nicer where I live. My life is better. Your life is not.

Hey-o!

October 4th, 2010
4:10 am

Born and raised..victorino is a dirty flip!

Hey-o!

October 4th, 2010
4:10 am

Is there anything racist that i can’t say? I can’t believe i can call Victorino a Flip but the other stuff i wrote never got posted.

Hammond

October 4th, 2010
10:20 am

In reading all the posts anyone that has anything bad to say after all the good that Bobby Cox has done

is not a sportsman they could not catch a cold

jackets363

October 4th, 2010
10:33 am

Jason,
I know that we all wanted, and should have won the 91′ and 96′ series, but right now, it’s not about that. It’s about what a great man, and ambassador that Bobby Cox has has and still is for the city of Atlanta. Nothing makes me more proud than to see number 6 in the dugout for us. Everyone that knew him had nothing but praises for him, and even if there was something wrong that he did, they couldn’t find the words to say it. 2500 wins is a heck of an accomplishment. We were Lucky to have him in a Braves uniform. He is a great man and a great manager. The game of baseball will never forget Bobby Cox.

Neil

October 4th, 2010
4:38 pm

The tributes have been great all year, however the neatest gift was the bench made from the bats, balls and baseball cards of the active roster. That was very unique. Whoever had the idea did great. Now the final gift is a great run in the post-season. Bobby we will always love you and will miss you more than you will ever know.

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