Bobby Cox reached behind his sunglasses to dab his eyes a few times Saturday as the Atlanta Braves paid tribute to their longtime manager.
The ceremony before the game against the visiting 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 by 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 seasons.
The 60-year-old Cox is retiring after the season, his 29th as a major league manager, including 25 with the Braves.
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.”
Royals keep DeJesus
The Kansas City Royals exercised their $6 million option on outfielder David DeJesus for next season.
DeJesus, 30, played in only 91 games this year. He had season-ending surgery on his right thumb after crashing into the fence at Yankee Stadium.
DeJesus was batting .318 with 23 doubles, three triples, five home runs and 37 RBIs.