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September 25, 2009

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Braves boss Cox to retire

BOBBY Cox will retire as manager of the Atlanta Braves after next season, ending an illustrious career in which he guided the team to 14 consecutive playoffs and the 1995 World Series title.

The 68-year-old Cox, a four-time manager of the year, agreed to a one-year contract extension for 2010, the Braves announced on Wednesday. He will start a five-year consulting agreement to advise the team in baseball operations after he steps down as manager.

"They asked me to come back, and I said I would do it for one more year, and we'll announce the retirement along with it. It's the only way I think I'm ever going to walk away from the game, is to go ahead and say I'm going to, and then I've got to," Cox said. "There's no turning back now - win, lose or draw. Whatever happens next year is going to be it."

A cigar-smoking baseball lifer, Cox managed the Braves from 1978-81, switched to the Toronto Blue Jays from 1982-85, then returned to manage Atlanta in 1990. He began Wednesday with 2,408 regular-season wins as a manager, fourth all-time in Major League Baseball behind Connie Mack (3,731), John McGraw (2,763) and Tony La Russa (2,550). Cox and Joe McCarthy are the only managers with six 100-win regular seasons.

"There is a little bit of relief once you come to grips with announcing it," Cox said. "I've never lost the love to manage - period. But you have to make a decision. At my age, you have to make a decision. Somebody a little younger can start up."

Braves General Manager Frank Wren said he won't start thinking about a successor for Cox until an appropriate time next season.

Both men said Cox probably will have input.


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