Senators pay tribute to Cox in Washington

Senators pay tribute to Cox in Washington

WASHINGTON -- Braves manager Bobby Cox had the time of his life on Tuesday, as he was honored by senators at the Dirksen Senate Building and the U.S. Capitol for 52 years of service in Major League Baseball.

Cox is planning to retire at the end of the 2010 season and become a consultant for the Braves.

Though he's won 2,424 games, five pennants and one World Series championship, and had a run of 14 consecutive division titles from 1995 to 2001, Cox was amazed that people outside baseball were honoring him.

"I'm taken aback right now," Cox said. "It's so nice of them to do something like this. It's a true honor. It hasn't hit me what I have accomplished. Even the retirement won't hit me until the last game or two. I'll have a chance to reflect on it after I retire. It's not just me. The Braves are a great organization."

Cox's entire coaching staff, three of his players -- pitcher Tim Hudson and catchers Brian McCann and David Ross -- broadcaster Chip Caray and Nationals president Stan Kasten, the man who rehired Cox as the Braves' manager in 1990, were all in attendance during the two ceremonies.

"It's great fun," Kasten said. "Baseball people get baseball awards and get recognition within baseball circles. I think it speaks to the kind of person Bobby is that he gets recognition outside of the baseball world."

Hudson said that he wouldn't miss any event that honors Cox.

"Bobby is so great for us as players and the city of Atlanta -- just baseball overall," Hudson said. "When they asked me and some of the other guys to come and support him, it's something that we love doing, because he has always fought for us and had our back from Day 1. It's kind of a token of our appreciation for him."

Cox's day started at around 9:45 a.m. ET at the Dirksen Senate Building. He was greeted by Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), talked about his career as both a player and manager, then had a question-and-answer session with Isakson's staff and the staff of Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.).

Cox answered questions about superstitions and his possible successor. He said that he hopes everyone on his coaching staff, which includes hitting coach Terry Pendleton and first-base coach Glenn Hubbard, is considered for the job.

After he was asked about Twins first baseman Kent Hrbek pushing Ron Gant off the bag in Game 2 of the 1991 World Series, Cox gave an interesting answer, saying that he didn't argue with first-base umpire Drew Coble that much because Gant was off balance when Hrbek made the tag.

"Hrbek got him off the base, but it wasn't so much that I could really argue," Cox said. "Ronny was off balance by the tag with his left foot."

Cox would later say in a session with the media that taking the Braves to the World Series in '91 was his favorite moment, even though the team lost to the Twins in seven games.

"Even though we were not the World [Series] champions, it kind of sticks out," he said. "It was the first year that the team really got started. We won the division, got to the seventh game of the World Series. The city of Atlanta was just excited. That's what sticks out."

At 11 a.m., at the Capitol building, Cox was presented with copies of April 20 Congressional Record statements honoring his career submitted by Sens. Isakson and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), the former a die-hard Braves fan. The two hosted a reception to celebrate Cox, which featured a slight culinary hiccup at the end of the celebration. The cake ordered for the event mistakenly said "Thanks For 50 Great years Bobby Cocks." The long-time Braves skipper shrugged off the misspelling with a laugh.

"That's funny," Cox told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "What bakery did he get that cake? That's what I want to know."

Several senators, including former Major Leaguer Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), were also in attendance.

"Bobby is a very special citizen of our state," Isakson said. "Everybody in the state of Georgia absolutely loves him. He is emblematic of what's right about sports, and he is a great role model. So we wanted to make sure he knew how much he was loved when he came to Washington, D.C., to play the Nationals."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.