It is hard to believe that Bobby Cox was fired but in 1981 it happened. And so, Joe Torre took the helm in 1982 for his first season. In fact, when Bobby was fired, he said “Believe me, this team is awfully close.”
And so they were. Under Joe, in 1982, they came to a 89-73 season ending first in the West. They ended one game ahead but that is all they needed.
So, was Bobby right or was Joe just that good? My guess is it was both. Bobby had a huge sense of building for the future. When he would return as manager, that is what he would do. And it would pay off.