ATLANTA -- Throughout a majority of his days as a professional baseball player, Bobby Cox always thought he'd end up being a high school football coach. Never did he imagine that there would be a day when he'd entrench himself as one of the most successful managers in baseball history.
With the Braves' 9-2 win over the Pirates at PNC Park on Saturday night, Cox notched the 2,195th victory of his managerial career, moving him past Sparky Anderson and into sole possession of fourth place on the all-time list.
"It's hard sometimes to realize because he's your manager, but when it's all said and done, they're going to talk about this for a long time," Braves right fielder Jeff Francoeur said. "There's no doubt he's a Hall of Fame manager."
Cox's place in the Hall of Fame was likely captured somewhere during the run in which he led the Braves to 14 consecutive division titles. This momentous step only provides the opportunity for his name to stand alongside and above many of the other great managers who have graced this game.
"He's the best," Braves catcher Brian McCann said. "There isn't a better human being than Bobby Cox."
Cox's players love to play for him because he deflects all positive attention towards them and chooses to stay out of the limelight. Thus it wasn't surprising to learn that after this latest victory, he shied away from the congratulatory pats on the back that his players were offering.
"I'm sure he's very happy and we're all happy for him," Francoeur said. "He's so humble and such a great guy. He's not going to let you know about it. But we are."
Connie Mack, John McGraw and current Cardinals skipper Tony La Russa are the only men ahead of Cox on the all-time managerial wins list. Each of them reached their totals with the benefit of at least three more years of service than Cox, who is in his 26th season as a Major League manager.
With La Russa still active and owning 2,311 wins entering Saturday, there's a chance that Cox will not move any higher on the all-time wins list. The Cardinals skipper has gained the lead while managing more than 400 more games than Cox.
Mack's 3,731 wins appear to be unapproachable by anybody. To reach McGraw's 2,763 total, the 65-year-old Cox would likely have to continue managing at least another decade. For now, he is hinting that he'll continue in his role through at least the end of the 2008 season.
Of the top four on the all-time managerial wins list, only McGraw has a greater differential between his wins and losses total. His teams were 815 games over .500. Cox's teams have won 496 more games than they have lost.
As for La Russa, his teams have won 306 more games than they have lost.
"I feel very fortunate to have played my entire career for Bobby Cox," Chipper Jones said. "There's a reason he's the best at what he does."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.