Wendel: Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa, baseball lifers

From SABR member Tim Wendel at The National Pastime Museum on July 24, 2014:

Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa are baseball lifers who saw promising careers cut short by injury and bad luck only to reinvent themselves as managerial masterminds.

At first glance, Cox and La Russa don’t appear to have much in common, except for their teams’ accomplishments. Cox guided the Atlanta Braves to the playoffs 14 consecutive seasons and finished with a 2,504–2,001 record. La Russa fostered a more cerebral image, thanks in large part to his law degree, while winning championships in Oakland and St. Louis. Yet both of these men demonstrated remarkable resiliency, especially early in their careers. They will join Joe Torre, Greg Maddux, and Tom Glavine as they enter the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York on July 27, 2014.

Born in Tulsa, Cox grew up in Fresno County, California, and signed with Los Angeles after attending Reedley Junior College. He spent five seasons trying to make it out of the Dodgers’ minor league system and was eventually sent to the Braves in their first year in Atlanta. He finally caught on at the big-league level with the New York Yankees in 1968 and was named to the Topps All-Star Rookie Team. The future looked bright for Cox, but then Bobby Murcer arrived in Gotham and Cox soon turned to managing.

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/bobby-cox-and-tony-la-russa

Originally published: July 24, 2014. Last Updated: July 24, 2014.