Braves icon Bobby Cox is among 12 candidates on the Expansion Era ballot for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, strengthening the possibility that the retired Atlanta manager could be inducted at Cooperstown, N.Y., next summer alongside two of his “Big Three” starting pitchers, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine.
Maddux and Glavine are considered to be first-ballot locks for election by writers on the regular ballot to the Hall of Fame in the Class of 2014. Cox could join them if he gets 75 percent of the votes from a 16-member Veterans Committee appointed by the Hall of Fame.
“I thought about that quite a bit,” Cox said of the possibility of being inducted in the same class as Maddux and Glavine. “That would be so special, I can hardly even think about something like that. If I ever got elected in, a lot of it would be because of those guys, that’s for sure.”
The veterans committee includes eight Hall of Famers (including ex-Braves pitcher Phil Niekro), four MLB team executives and four historians and retired media members.
Cox is joined on the Expansion Era ballot by Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Tony La Russa, Billy Martin, Marvin Miller, Dave Parker, Dan Quisenberry, Ted Simmons, George Steinbrenner and Joe Torre. The ballot includes managers who rank third and fourth on career wins list in La Russa (2,728) and Cox (2,504).
“Wow, that’s a great group,” Cox said after hearing the list Monday. “It’s something that you dream about, that’s for sure. You don’t think a lot about it, but it’s one of those situations where if it if happens, it happens, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. But I’m happy to be amongt that group, that’s for sure. I’m honored.”
Before retiring following the 2010 season, Cox compiled a career record of 2,504-2,001 in 29 seasons as a major league manager, including 25 seasons during two stints with the Braves. His Atlanta teams won 14 consecutive division titles through 2005, five National League pennants, and the 1995 World Series.
Cox also served five years as Braves general manager before John Schuerholz was hired for that post in October 1990.
Results of the Expansion Era ballot will be announced Monday, Dec. 9, on the first day of baseball’s Winter Meetings in Orlando. The 2014 induction ceremony in Cooperstown is Sunday, July 27.
The regular Hall of Fame ballot is distributed to voting members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in late November, and results will be announced Jan. 8.