* When he made the New York Yankees in 1968 Bobby Cox and his family had to sleep on the beach due to the fact that there wasn't any room at the inn ... now he sleeps where all the Hall of Famers past and present have slept -- the Otesaga Resort Hotel in Cooperstown. .... 2014 Canadians drafted … Canadians in Minors … Canadians in college summer ball …. Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent
By Bob Elliott
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. _ Bobby Cox has come a long way.
The first night he arrived at spring training in 1968 at New York Yankees camp in Fort Lauderdale he slept on the beach with his wife in kids as the Colonial Hotel was booked until the next day. The next day he roomed with Lindy McDaniel.
Cox was prowling around the lobby of the Otesaga Resort Hotel on Friday afternoon rubbing shoulders with Hall of Famers on induction weekend.
As the Yankee third baseman, splitting time with Mike Ferraro, Cox collected his first hit off Detroit Tigers Joe Sparma April 28 at Yankee Stadium. His bad knees only allowed to collect 140 more hits, his final at-bat a run-scoring fly ball as the Yankees edged Luis Tiant and the Cleveland Indians 4-3 in the last game of 1969.
And Cox helped people along way in his 29 years of managing (25 with the Atlanta Braves and four with the Blue Jays).
Blue Jays centre fielder Lloyd Moseby was having a terrible time adjusting to the new swing in 1982.
He went to Cox and told him he couldn’t adjust to lowering his hands.
That was it. It was so bad Moseby wanted to quit.
Cox told him to go home, sleep on it and they’d talk the next day.
Moseby arrived at the park to find he was leading lead off.
He went on to play 1,588 games in all in 12 seasons, the first 10 with the Blue Jays and the final two with the Detroit Tigers.
“He was the best manager I ever played for ... and don’t forget I played for Sparky Anderson too,” said Moseby,
Anderson was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2000.
Moseby broke in under manager Bobby Mattick in 1980 and met Cox at Dundein in 1982 after graduating from Oakland playgrounds where he could catch a pop up with style.
He was never as flashy as Ricky Henderson (who graduated with honors), but he could do it.
Until Cox called him inside the manager’s office at old Exhibition Stadium.
“Here’s the thing about Bobby, he never said I couldn’t make snatch catches any more,” said Moseby from Mont Pearl, Nfld. where he was partaking in the Blue Jays travelling academy and road show.
“Bobby said ‘do what ever you want, have all the fun you want, but if you drop a ball, if cost our pitcher a run or if you cost us a ball game, I’m sitting you on the bench for a week.’ He said he wouldn’t embarrass me in the middle of an inning, but we were there to win games. So no more snatch moves.’ Bobby wasn’t into styling and profiling.”
So, you stopped completely?
“Well,” said Moseby, “not 100% but I was a lot more careful. The thing about Bobby was he didn’t yell and say ‘YOU CAN’T DO THAT ANY MORE!’”
Moseby took Cox’s option ... well most of the time.
“He made me understand that it wasn’t about a snatch catch and looking good, it was about winning ball games. He is what he is ... a Hall of Famer.”
One of the most often re-told stories about Cox’s managerial style happened at old Tiger Stadium when Bill Caudill was in his fional days as a closer After ball one, Cox called time and stomped out of the dugout. Reaching Ernie Whitt first the manager whispered without moving his lips: “how the hell can you call first-pitch change up?”
“Ah that was a fastball,” said Whitt with his glove in front of his face.
Reaching the mound Cox was short and sweet “go get ‘em Billy, keep throwing strikes.”
Then there was the famous clubhouse meeting at Exhibition Stadium. DH Cliff Johnson told a newspaper that the reason that the Jays had a bad road trip was because of a “country club-type atmosphere.”
And then Cox asked Jimmy Key if he took his golf clubs on the last trip. No.
He asked Dave Stieb. No.
He asked Jim Clancy. No.
And then he asked Johnson. The answer was yes. Cox exploded at Johnson.
“Bobby didn’t want people downgrading their teammates,” said Moseby. “Bobby showed us all he’d stick up for us. He took his time. Make his point.”
When Braves centre fielder Andruw Jones was benched by Cox for not hustling, the youngster said he felt “like he’d been benched ... my his father.”
As the late Braves broadcaster Skip Caray once said Cox takes “all the blame when the Braves lose and zero credit when they win, the man is without an ego.”
“I liked him for a lot of reasons, I liked he wore metal cleats, could go nine innings yelling ‘atta a baby,’ or ‘thatta away babe,” said Moseby. “I could listen to Bobby all day.”
And people will listen to Cox’s speech on Sunday.