LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - The hotel lobby has emptied out here at the Swan and Dolphin resort and the free agent and trade chatter has temporarily hit a lull, as a trio of elite managers were just announced as the newest members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre have all been unanimously elected to the Hall of Fame as part of the Expansion Era ballot, voted on by 16 longtime major league players, executives and historians.
Cox spent 29 years as a major league manager, 25 with the Braves. He finished with a .556 winning percentage, won five National League pennants and one World Series title, in 1995.
La Russa managed for 33 years in the big leagues, posting a .536 career winning percentage. He won six pennants (three with the Athletics and three with the Cardinals) and two World Series titles, one with each of those teams.
Torre was a major league manager for 29 seasons, posting a career .538 winning percentage. He won six pennants and four World Series titles, all with the Yankees.
I guess it’s fitting that those three guys will all go into the Hall together. Three legendary, old-school managers who are incredibly well-respected and made a major impact on the game.
Cox, LaRussa and Torre all finished their managerial careers at least 300 games over .500. Davey Johnson is in the above-300 club, as well, which he made sure to point out down the stretch this season when he was hovering right around that mark. He finished with a managerial record of 1372-1071.
It’ll be interesting to see whether he finds his way to Cooperstown eventually.
The Expansion Era, as it’s defined, covers candidates among managers, umpires, executives and long-retired players whose most significant career impact was realized after 1972.
Eligible candidates include players who played in at least 10 major league seasons, who are not on Major League Baseball’s ineligible list and have been retired for 21 or more seasons; managers and umpires with 10 or more years in baseball and retired for at least five years; and executives who have been retired for at least five years.
The Expansion Era Committee doesn’t need to wait five years to elect retirees - Cox and Torre retired in 2010 while La Russa ended his career in 2011.
Candidates needed to receive at least 12 of the 16 available votes in order to be voted into the Hall of Fame on the Expansion Era ballot.
Marvin Miller, longtime executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, and George Steinbrenner, the late Yankees owner, were among the candidates who did not receive enough votes to qualify for the Hall of Fame.
It’s truly a shame that Miller hasn’t found his way into the Hall at this point.