The baseball world turns, and comes up: Bobby Cox manager at Toronto, forcing the New York Mets to shop elsewhere . . . Dallas Green general manager/executive v.p. of the Chicago Cubs, but holding off on naming a field manager . . . Buck Rodgers extended through 1982 as Milwaukee manager.

Cox became hot property as soon as Ted Turner dropped him last week at Atlanta after four years. Cox winnowed his pick of several managerial jobs down to the Mets and the Blue Jays, opting for Toronto's "firm commitment" over others' "foot-dragging". . . .

In Chicago, Green averred that he hadn't really decided until after his 1980 world champion Phillies were out of the 1981 playoffs to accept the multiyear contract to succeed Herman Franks. Green spent most of the last 30 years in the Philadelphia organization -- and promised not to "rape" it of talent. As for the report that Lee Elia of the Phillie coaching staff was Green's choice for Cub manager: "I want to talk to Joey (Amalfitano, the incumbent) first, face to face." And seconding the Tribune Co.'s back-burner placement of the issue of night ball in Wrigley Field, Green said: "Lights are not a first priority . . . I have a strong theory that if you are in decent shape you can handle July and August playing day games". . .

Favored to succeed Cox at Atlanta is Eddie Haas of the Braves organization. Haas was International League manager of the year at Richmond -- and, say (with a nod to WTOP's Phil Wood, who's aired the idea), an IL job is open at the Orioles' Rochester branch, and might that not fit for a fresh start for Frank Howard -- what with Earl Weaver eyeing retirement after one more Baltimore pennant, if that. EBW likes Hondo, right?

Elsewhere in Turner's Atlanta empire, Eddie Johnson has been released after an eight-day stay in a psychiatric ward and has begun workouts toward rejoining the NBA Hawks . . . Ray Williams, N.Y. Knick free agent, has accepted a three-year, $1.5 million offer sheet from the New Jersey Nets; Knicks have two weeks to match it or swing a Williams trade -- it might well be with the Nets for Maurice Lucas. If Ray crosses over, will Net rookie Buck Williams, who had 18 points, 15 rebounds in a 101-99 preseason loss to the Knicks this week, go in the box scores as B. or C. (for Charles) Williams? . . .

Crrrack! Jeff Ruland, muscular new Bullet, shattered the backboard at Lyons Township High School, LaGrange, Ill., in Bullets-Bulls pregame warmup; delayed play 90 minutes . . .

Fran Curci, the U. of Kentucky football coach in spite of Gov. John Y. Brown's yen for George Allen, feels beleaguered enough at 1-4 that he assembled his players to declare: "I will not resign". . . As for Allen: his turn to analyze, with CBS-TV partner Lindsey Nelson at Miami, "his," twice-removed, Redskins.

Dead at 71: Art Passarella, AL umpire 1945-53; turned actor in "Damn Yankees," did 10 years as "Sgt. Sekuvolich" on TV's "Streets of San Francisco."