Among them, they won nearly 8,000 major league baseball games, 17 pennants and eight World Series.
Together, Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre, who rank third, fourth and fifth respectively in all-time victories, will enter the Baseball Hall of Fame. The three, who managed over 91 seasons, were elected unanimously today by the expansion-era committee.
Learning of their enshrinement next summer may not have been a surprise for three of the game’s greatest managers, but the enormity of the moment struck them nonetheless. “It hits you like a sledgehammer,” Torre, now an executive vice president for Major League Baseball, said at a press conference at baseball’s winter meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. “I am honored to go into the Hall with these two guys.”
La Russa won 2,728 games managing the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals. He won Game 7 of the World Series in 2011 with the Cardinals in his final game as manager of the team. (He managed the National League team in the All-Star Game the following summer.) La Russa also won the Series with the Cards in 2006 and with the A’s in 1989. Only Connie Mack and John McGraw won more games as a manager than La Russa, who is 69.
“The best way to describe the feeling,” La Russa said, “is stunned.”
Cox had the longest run with one team, spending 25 years with the Atlanta Braves in two go-rounds, the second of which lasted from 1990-2010. Cox, 72, also managed the Toronto Blue Jays, taking them to their first playoff appearance in 1985. The Braves won five pennants and the 1995 World Series under Cox.
Torre led the three in World Series victories with four titles with the New York Yankees from 1996-2000. Torre, who also managed the New York Mets, Braves, Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers, is the eldest of the three at 73.
Marvin Miller, the first head of the MLB Players Association, failed to get elected on his sixth time on the ballot. He died in November 2012 at the age of 95 and built the union into a model that forced free agency. “Words cannot adequately describe the level of disappointment and disbelief I felt when learning that once again the Hall of Fame has chosen to ignore Marvin Miller and his unparalleled contributions to the growth and prosperity of Major League Baseball,” Tony Clark, the newly elected head of the MLBPA, said in a statement. “Over the past 50 years, no individual has come close to matching Marvin’s impact on the sport.”
George Steinbrenner, the legendary Yankees owner who died in July 2010, was not elected, either. Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Dave Parker, Dan Quisenberry, Ted Simmons and former manager Billy Martin also failed to get the necessary number of votes. A 16-member committee consisting of eight Hall of Famers, four executives and four journalists does the voting.
The results on players, who include Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas, elected to the Hall will be revealed next month. They are chosen by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Induction will be held July 27 in Cooperstown, N.Y.