- Associated Press - Saturday, October 2, 2010

ATLANTA (AP) - Bobby Cox reached behind his sunglasses to dab his eyes a few times on Saturday as the Atlanta Braves paid tribute to their longtime manager.

The ceremony before the game against the Philadelphia Phillies attracted about 70 former players and coaches, who all wore their white Braves jerseys and sat in the infield.

Cox was given a 2010 Lexus LS460 from the Braves and an 11-night cruise from his current players. Cox said “Holy Cow!” when shown a picture of another gift _ a bench made with autographed bats, balls and baseball cards from every player on the team.

Chipper Jones, representing the current players, called Cox “the greatest manager any of us will know.”

Cox was the general manager when the Braves made Jones the No. 1 overall pick in the 1990 draft. Cox is the only manager Jones has played for in his 16 major league seasons.

The 60-year-old Cox is retiring after the season, his 29th as a major league manager, including 25 with the Braves. The Braves began the day with a lead in the NL wild-card race.

The manager appeared moved when Jones said, “I want to personally thank you for taking a chance on me. I’ve been trying to make you proud for 20 years.”

Former players, including Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, Dale Murphy, Phil Niekro, Gary Sheffield, Andres Galarraga and David Justice, gave Cox a standing ovation. They remained standing as Cox thanked the fans, his wife, Pam, and his family.

Cox tipped his cap to the fans and said “These last three decades have just been magnificent.”

Cox said his players deserved credit for the wins.

“The main reasons is these guys right here,” Cox said, looking at his players. “They’re great players. They’re my friends.”

Before the ceremony, Cox said, “It feels like my whole career has flown by. It’s nothing but a blur right now.”

Phillies players applauded and stood on the edge of their dugout during the ceremony. There were a few boos when Cox congratulated manager Charlie Manuel and the Phillies for winning the NL East division.

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig and former Braves owner Ted Turner offered congratulations to Cox in taped messages that were played on the video board. Selig said he would see Cox in Cooperstown in a few years when the manager is inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Selig said Cox has been “not only a great manager on the field but a great person off the field.”

Story Continues →