Dan's Dugout: Bobby Cox Still Argues With the Umps • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Bobby Cox Still Argues With the Umps

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Bobby Cox didn’t stop arguing with umpires when he retired as a manager.

So says John Schuerholz, who was general manager of the Atlanta Braves when Cox was at the helm during the team’s record 14-year title streak.

With John Schuerholz (left) as GM and Bobby Cox as manager, the Braves won 14 titles in a row

With John Schuerholz (left) as GM and Bobby Cox as manager, the Braves won 14 titles in a row

Schuerholz, now vice chairman of the ballclub, revealed Thursday night that Cox still comments on every pitch and every umpire’s decision that goes against the Braves.

“He’s still a vital piece of our front office,” Schuerholz said of Cox during an exclusive interview on the BRAVES BANTER radio show. “Even now, when he sits in the president’s box at Sun Trust Park, he’s focused on the game, arguing every call.”

Only three managers won more games than Cox, who retired after the 2010 season, but none topped his 158 ejections – not to mention three more during postseason play. Not even John McGraw, Leo Durocher, Earl Weaver, or Billy Martin could match that dubious distinction.

It didn’t hurt his teams much, though: Braves teams won five pennants and a world championship under Cox and Schuerholz.

Cox still comes to spring training, bouncing around in a golf cart that enables him to check young players on back fields, and to virtually all Braves home games. He also attends such events as the World Series and winter meetings.

Hard to believe this happy guy had a record 158 ejections

Hard to believe this happy guy had a record 158 ejections

Schuerholz, the first general manager to win world championships in both leagues, joined Cox in Cooperstown earlier this year. Cox was enshrined in 2014 along with former Braves pitchers Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux. John Smoltz, the third member of the team’s terrific troika, joined them a year later, with Chipper Jones virtually certain to expand the Braves wing next summer.

Ironically, Cox and Schuerholz made three trades when both were general managers. The most significant one brought veteran lefthanded starter Charlie Liebrandt to Atlanta from Kansas City for first baseman Gerald Perry.

As a member of Atlanta’s board of directors, Cox still has considerable input in conversations about potential free agent acquisitions and trades.

Schuerholz noted during his interview that all such deals are group decisions – even though fans were unhappy with deals that stripped the Braves of Craig Kimbrel, Andrelton Simmons, Alex Wood, and Evan Gattis.

John Schuerholz still stays active in the Atlanta front office

John Schuerholz still stays active in the Atlanta front office

“We had to part with some of the players to sweeten packages for teams that were taking on big contracts,” said Schuerholz in an obvious reference to the former B.J. Upton (now Melvin Upton Jr.). “And we still feel pitching is the most important part of our team and we traded for players we feel will produce just like the guys we had before.”

Finding another Maddux, Glavine, or Smoltz might be asking too much but most experts agree the Braves have more prospects – and thus a better minor-league system – than any other team. Ronald Acuna, a 19-year-old projected to be Atlanta’s rightfielder next season, won Minor League Player of the Year honors from USA TODAY Sports Weekly, Baseball America, and USA TODAY.

If he sticks, Acuna would give the Braves the youngest man in the majors for the second year in a row. Ozzie Albies, a switch-hitting second baseman who surfaced this summer, is just 20.

Schuerholz is not only proud of his players but of his parks. He was instrumental in arranging for the shift from Turner Field to Sun Trust Park this season and the pending spring training move from Disney’s Champion Stadium to an under-construction park near Port Charlotte.

Asked what he could add to his glittering resume, Schuerholz hesitated only slightly. During his years as general manager, none of his teams finished lower than third – even though he battled budget constraints, free agency, union issues, and other problems.

John Schuerholz rewrote his Hall of Fame Induction speech four times

John Schuerholz rewrote his Hall of Fame Induction speech four times

He remembered being in a party during Induction Weekend with former Commissioner of Baseball Bud Selig, also elected by the Veterans Committee last December. “We looked around and saw Sandy Koufax sitting across the table,” he said, “and Whitey Ford was at the next table. It almost made us wonder why we were there.”

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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