The Atlanta Braves honored long-time manager Bobby Cox with induction into their Hall of Fame and the retirement of his number prior to Friday's 10-4 win over the Chicago Cubs at Turner Field. Bobby's No. 6. joins Warren Spahn's No. 21 and Hank Aaron's No. 44 among the eight numbers retired by the Braves.
Several of his former pupils returned for the ceremony, including pitching greats Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine(notes) and John Smoltz(notes), as well as outfielder David Justice. The men also attended a luncheon for Cox Friday afternoon where a question-and-answer session took place and stories of Cox's more infamous 158 career ejections — the all-time record — were shared.
Smoltz told the story about the day in Cincinnati when he argued a call at third base after Bret Boone had over-slid the base and Jones tagged him out, but Boone was called safe. Smoltz got ejected after some contact — he said Wendelstedt stepped on his toe — and Cox told Smoltz to go back to the mound and stay there.
Jones said Cox "waddled out" and got into it with Wendelstedt, the rookie umpire and son of veteran NL umpire Harry Wendelstedt.
"All of a sudden there was a little break," Jones said. "Bobby said this and I'll never forget it: 'Hunter, you wouldn't make a pimple on your dad's [expletive].'"
That had to be a highlight for anyone lucky enough to be in attendance. But without question the most entertaining (and possibly fitting) tribute of the entire day was paid to Cox by the Major League Baseball umpires in attendance after he tossed his ceremonial first pitch to Chipper Jones(notes).
That's umpire Tim Timmons unofficially adding No. 159 to Cox's total. A playful gesture, but a nice touch and fitting way to conclude what Cox described as a "humbling" experience.
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