Storin: Shaping up to be a good summer for Braves in Cooperstown

storapse@aol.comDecember 12, 2013 

If things go as expected (and the baseball writers do the right thing) when the Hall of Fame voting results are announced next month, Cooperstown will turn into "Atlantatown" on July 27.

That's the day Bobby Cox and hopefully Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine officially will be awarded baseball's highest honor.

It was announced Monday that Cox, along with fellow managers Tony La Russa and Joe Torre, were elected unanimously (16 votes) by the baseball veterans committee. Pitchers Maddux and Glavine, both 300-game winners and first-time eligibles, should garner the required 75 percent vote of the baseball writers when results are revealed Jan. 8.

If three men from the same team are inducted on the same day it will be a first for the Hall of Fame. Quite an achievement for the Atlanta franchise. Braves fans might want to start making their hotel reservations in Cooperstown.

And it won't be long before they might consider a return visit when John Smoltz and Chipper Jones become eligible for the HOF vote. And don't forget John Schuerholz.

Jones was one of the great switch hitters of all-time and Smoltz served as both starter and closer on the Atlanta teams that won 14 division titles from 1991 and 2005. Schuerholz, as general manager, put those teams together.

"They're the guys that got me this far for sure," Cox said Monday.

Bobby never said truer words.

La Russa, who won three World Series at Oakland and St. Louis, had Rickey Henderson, Dennis Eckersley, Mark McGwire and Albert Pujols. Torre, who won four World Series with the Yankees, had Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Wade Boggs and Roger Clemens.

If you look back through baseball history you will find a common thread among the winningest managers -- they all had great players.

The Yankees' Joe McCarthy and Casey Stengel each won seven World Series with Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Bill Dickey, Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle, Phil Rizzuto and Yogi Berra.

So much was expected of Stengel that he was unbelievably fired after he won the American League pennant and lost the World Series in 1960.

Walt Alston won four World Series with the Dodgers thanks to Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale and Duke Snider.

I could go on and on with managerial legends like Connie Mack, John McGraw and Sparky Anderson -- all winners of multiple World Series.

Which leads us to Cox and the one blemish on his resume. Yes, he won 14 division titles, but his teams, which at times boasted arguably the best pitching staff in baseball history, won only one World Series and lost two others to the Yankees and Torre.

There will be some who feel I shouldn't bring this up. But I don't think it can be ignored, especially in the context of the best baseball managers of all time.

Bobby Cox belongs in the Hall of Fame, period.

Braves fans should rejoice and hope that Maddux and Glavine join him at Cooperstown in July.

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