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Joe Torre and Bobby Cox: Former Little Leaguers Make the Baseball Hall of Fame

Joe Torre and Bobby Cox: Former Little Leaguers Make the Baseball Hall of Fame

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Three of Major League Baseball’s most celebrated managers got the call to the Hall on Monday, Dec. 9, as Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa were all elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Expansion Era Committee. And before Mr. Torre and Mr. Cox made it to the bigs, they got their start at Little League. Celebrating its 75th Anniversary in 2014, these Little League graduates exemplify the leadership qualities that are the fabric of Little League’s success for more than seven decades.

The three managers were all unanimous selections by the 16-member committee, and they also rank number three, four and five in all-time wins by a Major League Baseball manager.

Number five on that list, Mr. Torre, the 2013 William A. “Bill” Shea Award Distinguished Little League Graduate winner, grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., playing for East Highway Little League, which has since been renamed Joe Torre East Highway Little League. During his 18-year Major League playing career and 29 years as a manager, Mr. Torre won four World Series Championships as a manager with the New York Yankees and took the team to the postseason in every one of the twelve seasons that he was at the helm in the Bronx. In February 2011, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig appointed Mr. Torre as Major League Baseball’s Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations.

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Mr. La Russa, Mr. Torre and Mr. Cox are all headed to Cooperstown. Photo Courtesy Of: Preston Mack/National Baseball Hall of Fame Library

“What makes (getting elected) even better is to go in (to the Hall of Fame) with these two guys,” said Mr. Torre at a news conference. “You know, we waged a lot of battles against each other, and it's just a great, great feeling.”

Mr. Cox, number four in all-time wins as a manager, was on the first team at Selma Little League in California in 1951. Cox skippered the Braves and Blue Jays for 29 seasons, leading his teams to 15 first-place finishes. From 1991-2005, Cox led the Braves to 14 straight seasons where they finished in playoff position, winning five National League pennants and the 1995 World Series. Mr. Cox finished his career with 2,504 victories.

“There are few other managers in the history of baseball that have the respect and stature as these three men,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO. “We are proud to call Mr. Torre and Mr. Cox Little Leaguers, and congratulate them all on their enshrinement into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.”

Mr. Torre and Mr. Cox join 15 other former Major League Baseball players to be enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame who played Little League.

These three baseball icons will be enshrined as part of the 2014 Hall of Fame Class, and recognized during Hall of Fame Weekend, July 25-28 in Cooperstown, N.Y.