The Atlanta Braves knew how to loose. The had, to some extent, built a culture of loosing. But they had a plan. They worked the plan. And the plan became reality.
Today (July 27, 2014), in Cooperstown, N.Y., nobody is laughing at the Braves. And that success story that includes a 1995 World Series championship, five National League pennants, 14 consecutive division titles and a host of individual honors. They were transformed.
Who are the men who helped transform the Atlanta Braves so remarkably?
- Bobby Cox was the general manager in the 1980s when the club began to draft, cultivate and stockpile talent in the farm system, and became the manager who put it all together on the field.
- Left-handed pitcher Tom Glavine was one of the talented draft choices taken in 1984 and groomed in the minor leagues.
- Right-handed pitcher Greg Maddux was a 1993 free-agent acquisition that paid huge dividends.
Cox managed the Braves from 1978-’81, and then returned in 1986 as the general manager.
“When I got there, we made a decision to develop a strong farm system, All of our budget went into scouting, and there was little for the big club. We spent a lot of money on that plan, A plan can be a great plan and fail. Fortunately, our plan worked.” ~~Bobby Cox
It was a great plan and they worked it. My guess is that it would still work for many teams today, including the Braves. In 1990, Atlanta had the worst record in the major leagues. In 1991, the Braves went from worst to first, winning the National League West and the NL pennant. The fairy tale ending fell just short when the Braves lost to the Minnesota Twins in Game 7 of the World Series.
John Schuerholz was a another piece of the plan and came over from Kansas City in 1990 as general manager, and Cox moved from the front office back to the dugout.
“What Bobby started and John finished brought winning baseball to Atlanta and the Braves, They transformed this franchise.” ~~General Manager Frank Wren
So what does Tom Glavine think of all this?
“I am not a historian and know some teammates gone into the Hall of Fame, But not together, like this on the first ballot. I know this is a big deal. And from a personal level, to have the others here is pretty cool. We were really good, And we were good for a long time, and we had good players.” ~Tom Glavine
And then there is “The Professor”, Greg Maddux. He’s here at the end of 23 seasons, 355 wins, more than 5,000 innings, four Cy Young Awards and 97.2 percent of the Hall vote, all built and maintained on the 100,000 pitches that resulted from them.
“Good control makes you smart. You throw the ball where you want to throw it, you look smart.” ~~Greg Maddux