Manager of the Year?

With his team having lost nine straight games, John Gibbons isn’t exactly on pace to win American League Manager of the Year honours. At this point, he’s just hoping to keep his job. The same can’t be said of Bobby Cox though. Not now; nor when he was manager of the Toronto Blue Jays.

After starting his managerial career with the Atlanta Braves, Cox was hired byBobby_cox the Blue Jays to replace Bobby Mattick prior to the 1982 season. Essentially, Cox’s signing marked the beginning of Toronto’s climb to respectability — and then, contention in the American League East. Back-to-back 89-73 (.549) seasons in 1983 and 1984 set the stage for what would be the Jays’ best regular season in franchise history.

A 99-62 (.615) record in 1985 earned the Blue Jays their first American League East title and first trip to the postseason. For his club’s success, Cox was named AL Manager of the Year, a feat that hasn’t been matched since by a Toronto manager. Cito Gaston came close in 1989, but finished second to Frank Robinson (even though Gaston’s Jays beat out Robinson’s Orioles for the division crown that season).

Unfortunately, Cox, the winningest manager in Blue Jay history (355-292 — .549), opted to leave Toronto after the ’85 season to assume GM duties with his hometown Atlanta Braves.

“That was the hardest thing I ever did in my life, having to leave there (Toronto),” Cox said. “Those were four of the best years I ever spent in baseball. I loved it. I loved it there.”

Cox was forgiven, but not until October 24, 1992 when the Blue Jays captured their first World Series title — fittingly, against Cox and his hometown team.

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