Bobby Cox changed the Braves forever

Bill Shanks

Let's hope former Braves manager Bobby Cox had a good day. He's still recovering from the stroke he suffered 13 months ago, and he's had other complications in the last few months.

But, he's still Bobby. He's still number six. He's still one of the most important figures in Braves history.

Ted Turner fired Bobby Cox once. It was in 1981 after the Braves had a disappointing season. They had been 81-80 in 1980, but the strike season the next year ruined their momentum, and the team fell back in the National League West.

Turner was asked what kind of manager he would look for, and he pointed toward Cox, who for some reason was at the press conference announcing his firing (sound familiar Mark Richt fans?), and said, "Well, somebody like Bobby Cox."

Cox came back to the Braves four years later, but this time he was the general manager. Turner had already hired Chuck Tanner, but he wanted Cox back and gave him the duties to turn the Braves around.

Turner was ready to relinquish the control of the team. He had his sights set on CBS and other cable entities, so the Braves were just no longer his priority. Stan Kasten was already in place, and Turner wanted Cox to run the baseball operations.

Cox and Kasten, along with scouting director Paul Snyder, made several huge decisions that changed the course of the organization forever. They decided to go with pitching, to emphasize pitching for the first time since the team had been in Atlanta.

And, it worked. For that, we must thank Bobby for what he did off the field, as much as he did on the field.

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