Former Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox speaks after being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame during the MLB Winter Meetings on Monday. Cox, who guided the Braves to five Division pennants and one World Series title, was voted in unanimously with former managers Tony La Russa and Joe Torre. (Reuters)
ORLANDO, Fla. — Managers might rule the day at this year’s Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre were elected by the Expansion Era committee on Monday. All were unanimous selections by its 16 members.
The results were announced as baseball’s Winter Meetings began at the Walt Disney Swan and Dolphin Resort. Twelve votes were needed for election.
Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Billy Martin, Marvin Miller, Dave Parker, Dan Quisenberry, Ted Simmons and George Steinbrenner each received six or fewer votes.
Cox compiled a 2,504-2,001 record in 29 seasons, 25 with the Atlanta Braves (1978-81, 1990-2010) and four with the Toronto Blue Jays (1982-85). He won five pennants and one World Series, all with the Braves. Cox also won four Manager of the Year awards.
“They always say getting elected to the Hall of Fame changes your life and I can feel that already,” Cox said. “It’s just an incredible feeling to have this happen.”
La Russa managed for 33 seasons, winning six pennants and three World Series. He had a 2,728-2,365 record with the Chicago White Sox (1979-86), Oakland Athletics (1986-95) and St. Louis Cardinals (1996-2011). La Russa was a four-time Manager of the Year.
“When you grow up playing baseball, being obsessed with baseball, you’re ultimate goal is to win a World Series,” La Russa said. “I was fortunate to be able to do that as a manager but you don’t even think about being elected to the Hall of Fame. It’s really unfathomable.”
Torre led the New York Yankees to six pennants and four World Series titles. He managed 29 seasons and compiled a 2,326-1,997 record with five teams: the New York Mets (1977-81), Braves (1982-84), Cardinals (1990-95), Yankees (1996-2007) and Los Angeles Dodgers (2008-10).
Torre was also the 1971 National League Most Valuable Player while playing for the Cardinals.
“People would ask me about the Hall of Fame and I always downplayed it because it was out of my control,” Torre said. “I hoped it might happen and now it’s pretty overwhelming that it’s happened.”
The induction ceremony is scheduled for July 27 at Cooperstown, N.Y.
“I am thrilled that these great managers during my tenure as commissioner will join the legends of our game in the halls of Cooperstown,” commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. “In careers of consistent excellence and incredible longevity, Bobby, Tony and Joe all left indelible impacts on our national pastime. For decades, these three individuals not only led great ballclubs, but instilled in their teams a brand of class and professionalism that baseball fans admired. It is fitting that Bobby, Tony and Joe will share our game’s highest honor together.”
The Major League Baseball Players Association expressed its disappointment that Miller, the organization’s original executive director, again failed to be voted into the Hall.
“Words cannot adequately describe the level of disappointment and disbelief I felt when learning that once again the Hall of Fame has chosen to ignore Marvin Miller and his unparalleled contributions to the growth and prosperity of Major League Baseball,” MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said in a statement. “Over the past 50 years, no individual has come close to matching Marvin’s impact on the sport. He proved to all involved in Major League Baseball, and to outside observers, that a healthy collective bargaining environment would benefit all the game’s stakeholders.
“Today, players, owners, front office personnel, fans and the media owe Marvin a debt of gratitude. Despite the election results, Marvin’s legacy remains intact, and will only grow stronger, while the credibility of the Hall of Fame continues to suffer.”