The Marlins hire McKeon. When does a team call Bobby Cox?

When you retire, you have more time for the grandchildren. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

When you retire, you have more time for the grandchildren. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Edwin Rodriguez resigned as Florida’s manager Sunday. The job has been filled  by the cigar-smoking Jack McKeon, who’s 80. What I’m wondering: How long before some team with a vacancy makes a run at a cigar aficionado who’s a spry 70?

“Nobody’s going to hire me,” Bobby Cox said Monday, speaking via iPhone. “I’m too young. I’ve got to earn my spurs first.”

About McKeon, Cox said: “Jack’s full of life and energy. Every time he’s come back — in Cincinnati and with Florida — he’s won.”

Let the record reflect that Robert Joseph Cox did some winning himself — 15 division titles, 16 playoff appearances, five National League pennants, one World Series title. He retired last fall, but he remains one of the most respected figures the game has known. And so I wondered: Has any club issued a feeler as to Cox’s interest in managing again?

“No, no, no, no,” he said. “I’m too busy. They can’t catch up with me.”

Busy traveling, mostly. He and his wife Pam took the Mediterranean cruise the Braves gave them on Bobby Cox Day last October — started in Barcelona, ended in Rome, 15 days in all. “That was the first [cruise] we’ve ever done,” Cox said. “It was pretty special. Probably spoiled us.”

Since then Cox has been shuttling throughout the South, swinging by Alabama and Mississippi, even stopping off at a different Rome for a minor-league baseball game. He spent Father’s Day at Turner Field, watching as the Braves beat the Rangers. (He remains a special assistant to general manager Frank Wren, and Cox is scheduled to be inducted into the Braves’ Hall of Fame on Aug. 12.)

“I’ve probably been to five games [at Turner Field],” Cox said. “I’ll go down and talk to the staff. I get my baseball fix that way.”

His assessment of Fredi Gonzalez, once Cox’s third-base coach and now his successor as manager? “Great. Outstanding. He’s handled everything great. He gets an A-plus.”

Then: “I’m serious. It’s been tough. The schedule hasn’t been easy, even in spring training. He gets high marks from me.”

When Cox doesn’t venture down to the ballpark, does he watch games? “Every pitch, if I can. I’ve got the popcorn, the chair — I’m ready to go.”

That said, watching isn’t exactly relaxing. “It’s tough watching on TV. Sometimes I’ve got to get up and walk around.”

His appraisal of the first Braves’ team since 1985 that he hasn’t had a direct hand in molding: “We’ve got to get our [injured] guys back.”

He and Pam spent a month hunkered down at their Adairsville farm. “Barnsley Gardens [a resort] is right next door. You’d work a little bit in the morning, then go play nine.”

Mr. and Mrs. Cox have been known to shoot hoops — Pam played basketball in high school — at the goal out back at the farm. Does she also play golf? “I bought her a set of clubs,” Cox said. “She’s practiced once. I’m hoping she gets the bug.”

Back to baseball. If a big-league team were to call over the winter and ask if he’s getting the bug to manage again, what would Cox say?

“I think I’m retired forever. I’m getting used to this stuff now. They say you stay really busy the first year, and then you get to do what you want to do.”

Could he see himself wearing a uniform again? “I don’t think so,” Cox said.

Then: “We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

By Mark Bradley

111 comments Add your comment

Jamaaliver

June 20th, 2011
12:24 pm

Man I miss Bobby C.

I hope FLORIDA realizes how foolish getting rid of Fredi G was last seasobn.

Fan

June 20th, 2011
12:26 pm

We love ya Bobby!

Bye, Fredi!

June 20th, 2011
12:26 pm

Bobby Cox should be on Frank Wren’s speed dial right now.

Bye, Fredi!

June 20th, 2011
12:29 pm

Fredi Gonzalez < Bobby Cox

AJC < Gwinnett Daily News

AJC < Toilet Paper

Arthur Blank < Bernie Marcus

Frank Wren < John Schuerholz

Matt Ryan < Steve Bartkowski

New York Sports Fans < Manure

iTiSi

June 20th, 2011
12:41 pm

Wonder if BC jumps out of his chair and charges the TV when the umps make a bad call? That’s the one fault(among others) I find with FG. He doesn’t back his players enough, or let the umps know when they make a really bad call. He’s just too mild! Also has caught the BC “syndrome” in resting players too much.

Henry D.

June 20th, 2011
12:46 pm

We still have Bobby in Bobby Cox, Jr. No running, everything’s o.k. when it’s not. Wait on the 3 run homer. Everything’s going to be better? That’s why he only won one World Series title with the talent that came through here. The only difference I see between Bobby and Fredi, is Fredi is afraid to get off his butt and go challenge an Umpire.

RichardGrayJr

June 20th, 2011
12:52 pm

We were honored as baseball fans to watch the team that man sent on the field every night. Honored and privileged.

juvenal

June 20th, 2011
12:55 pm

i think they should hire hall-Tech swept the u, didn’t they?

Badgerina

June 20th, 2011
1:05 pm

Good article.

wxwax

June 20th, 2011
1:07 pm

Angry man, that Fred.

Casey Strikes Out

June 20th, 2011
1:11 pm

I miss BC’s emotion. Larry Parrish is the one on the hotseat, not FG.

Bill

June 20th, 2011
1:15 pm

We still have BC in the dug-out and thats a problem..let the man RIP.

Hillbilly D

June 20th, 2011
1:26 pm

I hope they hire Bobby Valentine before I throw something through the TV.

Herschel Talker

June 20th, 2011
1:27 pm

MB:

Bobby should come back as a GM. Tremendous eye for talent. Not so much when it comes to being a clueless playoff choker as a manager.

In light of your prior post, when do you personally begin to panic about the Bravos? I personally think it’s past time, but you seem to think not, so I’m curious as to your timeframe.

HT

Mark Bradley

June 20th, 2011
1:31 pm

If they hire Bobby Valentine, I’ll throw something at the TV.

Joey

June 20th, 2011
1:42 pm

Fredi sure can’t carry Bobby’s jock strap . . . . . in nose-picking.

Hillbilly D

June 20th, 2011
1:43 pm

MB

Wouldn’t you rather Bobby Valentine manage the Marlins than to have to listen to his self-important drivel on your TV? I would.

Oregon Brave

June 20th, 2011
1:47 pm

I don’t think Frank Wren cares much for Bobby. I’ve never heard of a manager announce his retirement 13 months in advance like Bobby did in Sept., ‘09. So as long as FW keeps his job of over rewarding underachievers with long term overpriced contracts, Bobby will continue to holler at the TV as do I. But Larry Parrish should go, or change his teaching style. Every baseball commentator across this great land from Bobby Valentine to that slip knot that does the Marlins games has an answer for Uggla’s pitiful performance this year, but Parrish is the only one getting the big bucks to fix things down around the old batting cage. Oh. We’ve cancelled our trip to Seattle next week to see this terrible bunch of batters. We just don’t want to spend the money to watch the Braves lose a couple of pitching duels. Go Braves.

TommyJack

June 20th, 2011
1:52 pm

Bye Fredi < decent poster

Fan of the Game

June 20th, 2011
1:52 pm

Not only do the Braves miss Bobby Cox, but major league baseball misses him.

TomahawkChoppin'

June 20th, 2011
1:57 pm

That said, watching isn’t exactly relaxing. “It’s tough watching on TV. Sometimes I’ve got to get up and walk around.”

I know exactly what you mean Bobby. I am up pacing during Kimbrel’s ninth innings. I am up pacing every time Linebrink comes in to the game (no matter how good he has pitched recently). I am up pacing when Dan Uggla comes to the plate with RISP. i pace just as much as you BC. Heck, I even pace when FG doesn’t go out and argue bad calls.

ijudgenot

June 20th, 2011
1:59 pm

Agree with those who say “Bobby Ball” is still being played in Atlanta. However, season long slump in hitting may haved shocked Gonzalez out of his(Cox’s) confort zone. Releasing Mather was a start. Now call up the young shortstop Pasternicky from Mississippi and send Hernandez or Conrad down should be be next move. Tell Uggla to develop same strain Chipper has and put him on DL. Then announce he will go to AAA to get some reps before coming back like Heyward and McLouth did. This covers embarrasment of sending him straight to minors so that a professional hitting instructor can fix his swing. Let Pasternicky bat second behind Schafer and Heyward or Freeman third until Prado comes back then bat Prado third with McCann or Chipper fourth depending on lefty/righty pitcher. Simple, isn’t it?

Bill

June 20th, 2011
2:03 pm

I blame Liberty Media.

boogie-woogie

June 20th, 2011
2:05 pm

“…go challenge an Umpire”
–and so, exactly how many times have challenging an umpire resulted in the reversal of a call???
–without looking it up, I’d say: “ZERO”

:these ain’t high school kids, these are supposed to be PROFFESSIONALS
they are supposed to KNOW and NOT be influenced by this kind of kindergarten crap

ellabell1

June 20th, 2011
2:07 pm

Bobby’s gone? How can you tell?

Zach Galifianakis

June 20th, 2011
2:08 pm

Speaking of Bobby Valentine, who I despised as a Mets manager but have grown to love as an ESPN personality. It’s funny watching telecasts on different stations talk about how terrible Dan Uggla is. Every analyst seems to be irritated with him for not making ANY adjustments and offer some ways to fix his swing. I don’t get it either. Why does Uggla continue to have the same crappy approach every time he steps up to the plate. It’s obviously not working.

Mark Bradley`s Booster

June 20th, 2011
2:10 pm

Bobby Cox will not manage again.
The Braves cannot stay in contention for a playoff spot unless
they start hiting consistently with RISP.
The extra inning games will take a toll on the bullpen before long.
They may thave other problems that I don`t know about.
At this pace they will not win more than 86 or 87 games.
I hope I am wrong about the above except for Bobby Cox prediction.

Zach Galifianakis

June 20th, 2011
2:11 pm

Based on that picture, Bobby Cox’s grandchild has one heck of a mullet. Randy Johnson would be proud.

Zach Galifianakis

June 20th, 2011
2:15 pm

I too am worried about the overuse of our pitchers. Beachy and Hanson both have already hit the DL. And I’m willing to bet money Derek Lowe’s old flabby self will break down before the season’s end. Don’t get me started on how much Jonny Venters and Kimbrel have been abused by Fredi. Kimbrel will blow his arm out before all is said and done. I’m not sure if JJ is a lock to stay healthy the rest of the season either.

Ridiculous!

June 20th, 2011
2:23 pm

Speaking of Anthony Weiner, I read that in spite of his disgrace, he is eligible for a $46,224 per year pension. This is more ridiculous than paying a pro athlete over 200 million dollars to play sports. I love our country, but we have some screwed up priorities!

Ridiculous!

June 20th, 2011
2:25 pm

Anthony Weiner is eligible for a $46,224 yearly pension. We have some screwed up priorities!

Curious George

June 20th, 2011
2:27 pm

Why doesn’t Fredi Gonzalez pick his nose on the live national television broadcasts like his predecessor?

John Galt

June 20th, 2011
2:31 pm

Bye Fredi < 75 IQ

JB

June 20th, 2011
2:37 pm

Next year….right team and city………I say he jumps at it……It’s all he knows. Hanging around the house with the wife is not good for him……….or her.

DHD

June 20th, 2011
2:39 pm

Here we go again. Why the headline when there is no chance? Is it really that slow of a news day? Incredible.

Sonny Clusters

June 20th, 2011
2:41 pm

Jack McKeon is gonna need some potty breaks and especially if they go extra innings. Having a really old manager like that may be good for the Marlins players and Jack is probably great-grandfather material for most of them. We was wondering if in all his years of baseball Jack ever saw anybody out with an adductor injury? Hurting an adductor is new to us but we are learning more and more with this team.

Sonny Clusters

June 20th, 2011
2:46 pm

Chipper Jones may be back in the lineup soon because he said the Braves need to do “whatever it takes” to get some hits. Maybe having their 3-hitter in the game is what it takes. If we are right, there are 3 Bobblehead Nights this year. Uggla’s is coming up . . . and Chipper follows that. We think the Bobblehead on Chipper’s night ought to be a deer. Mark, see if you can sell that idea to Frank Wren.

Sonny Clusters

June 20th, 2011
2:47 pm

AJC: When Cox doesn’t venture down to the ballpark, does he watch games? “Every pitch, if I can. I’ve got the popcorn, the chair — I’m ready to go.”

Never share a bag of popcorn with Bobby Cox. Best to get your own.

Good one Sonny

June 20th, 2011
2:49 pm

Speaking of the adductor injury, when I first saw this, I had some real concerns with who was actually adducted and would there be any jail time involved.

Hillbilly D

June 20th, 2011
2:50 pm

Never share a bag of popcorn with Bobby Cox. Best to get your own.

Especially if it’s hot buttered.

David O'Brien

June 20th, 2011
3:00 pm

Mark Bradley is just MAKING UP meaningless, irrelevant, and baseless speculation just to get attention for himself. There was absolutely NO REASON to think there was any basis for speculating that Bobby Cox might be interested in managing again. But does the truth matter to Mark Bradley? No. He just wanted to write a headline that would draw attention to himself.

Mark Bradley has done this his entire career. A few year ago, he made up a fake grudge between himself and John Smoltz. The truth was, of course, that Smoltz didn’t care and barely had any idea who this two-bit reporter was. But Bradley is always trying to insert himself into a made-up controversy or trying to create a new story to draw attention to himself.

Conan

June 20th, 2011
3:02 pm

I agree. Mark Bradley comes across as a power tool.

Mumbles

June 20th, 2011
3:02 pm

Come on back, Bobby!!!! ( this team needs a Manager )

Conan

June 20th, 2011
3:04 pm

Is there really a Dan Uggla bobblehead night?

George

June 20th, 2011
3:09 pm

How many of you Bobby bashers are.
1. Headed to Baseball HOF
2. Have applied for job as manager of current team
3. Have won at least one game at the major league level as manager, player, or batboy.

I would love to see Bobby back in the dugout.

Jimmy

June 20th, 2011
3:14 pm

Yall get off Bradley and his reports.
Yesterday he told us that if the Braves don’t start hitting, we won’t catch the Phillies.

Mike

June 20th, 2011
3:16 pm

yeah but he didn’t get thrown out of enough games. i’d like to see one or two more of those.

DawginLex

June 20th, 2011
3:19 pm

HERSCHEL TALKER’S WORST NIGHTMARE

UGA 27
BSU 17

UGA 17
SC 14

Richt goes 10-2 and wins the East and gets an extension.

HT goes into hiding.

Bobby needs to stay retired and enjoy his family. The Braves are in good hands.

DawginLex

June 20th, 2011
3:20 pm

Stay retired Bobby and enjoy your family

VOLinATL

June 20th, 2011
3:27 pm

If the Braves were to hire Bobby Valentine in ANY capacity, I will start pulling for St. Louis or Baltimore. He is a clown that only lacks a red nese and big floppy shoes.