Legendary Braves manager and Baseball Hall of Famer Bobby Cox attended the team's home opener Monday night. Cox reportedly has been hospitalized due to a stroke. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Bobby Cox makes appearance at Braves game months after stroke

Bobby Cox was in attendance at Monday’s Braves game, his first appearance at SunTrust Park in the five months since the former Braves and Hall of Fame manager suffered a stroke.

Cox was seated in the luxury box of Braves Chairman Terry McGuirk before the afternoon game against the Blue Jays. The 78-year-old Cox has been in a rehab center in the months since the health issue, which occurred after he made an appearance at the stadium as part of opening-day ceremonies.

Cox, who suffers from some paralysis, has had a lengthy recovery process. He continues to have his right arm in a sling.

Cox was given a loud ovation by the SunTrust Park crowd when he was shown on the stadium scoreboard after the first inning. Through a Braves representative, Cox declined to be interviewed.

“I was excited that he was coming,” Braves manager and long-time friend Brian Snitker said. “I think he had his hot dog and had a great time. Hopefully, that’s just the beginning of many visits. ...

“He looks great to me. I saw him walking around. I kept my eye on him from the dugout. They welcomed him home. This is home to him, where he feels where he belongs, and he does. I was talking to (Cox’s wife) Pam. She said, ‘You better win today.’ There was a little pressure. Everybody, all the players, were pumped up to see him.”

Cox remained until the sixth inning of the Braves’ 6-3 victory.

“That was pretty special, honestly,” Braves third baseman Josh Donaldson said. “There haven’t been, during my time, I’ve been starstruck by anybody. The first time, when I signed here, I met Bobby and I was kind of like, ‘Wow, this is the man I grew up watching all those years.’ It was unfortunate what happened. We are glad he is bouncing back.”

Cox managed the team from 1978-81 and again from 1990 until he retired in 2010. He also managed the Blue Jays for several years and was the Braves’ GM from 1986-89. Cox led the Braves to 14 consecutive division titles from 1991-2005, including the World Series championship in 1995. Over his career, he managed 4,505 games and compiled a 2,504-2,001 record (.556). Cox was a four-time manager of the year, winning in both the National and American Leagues.

“He’s the Brave of all Braves,” pitcher Mike Soroka said. “We loved to see him up there. That was a boost to all of us.”

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