Baseball could soon lose a giant

Updated: September 23, 2009, 11:27 AM ET
By Buster Olney
Bobby Cox first mentioned walking away from baseball in the spring of 2008, and when word of this reached Gene Michael, a former teammate and longtime friend of Cox, Michael burst out laughing. "He's not going anywhere," Michael said. "He's a lifer. What else is he going to do?"

Cox signed with the Dodgers in 1959, reached the majors in 1968 and played for a couple of seasons, and incredibly, this is the 29th year that Cox has managed a major league team. There will be a day when he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. For those almost three decades' worth of seasons, players have heard Cox cheerily call to them from the dugout and encourage them. He has always been known as a great manager to play for because he is supportive and positive and consistent, and his players feel like he treats them with respect, and doesn't overwhelm them with rules or his own ego.

What has enabled Cox and Joe Torre to last as managers, I've always felt, is that they like players; they like people. They aren't overwhelmed by any anger or bitterness toward the players that are increasingly younger than they are.

But it turns out that Gene Michael might be wrong.

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