The Braves' run ‘has brought a spark’ to Bobby Cox’s eye

You cannot watch a telecast of a Braves postseason game without seeing a flashback image of Bobby Cox, who led this franchise to five World Series in the 1990s. Manager Brian Snitker is often asked on Zoom media conferences if he’s still in touch with his mentor, and Snitker always says yes.

Cox retired as manager in 2010. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014 alongside his former pitchers Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux. Cox threw out the first ball at the Braves' home opener April 1, 2019. He suffered a stroke the next day. He rarely has been seen in public since. He turned 79 in May.

On Friday, this correspondent spoke with Pam Cox, Bobby’s wife, to inquire about his health, but also about his feelings about the team of his heart being one game from another World Series. The conversation follows.

Q: How has this month been for him?

A: It’s been a blessing. With the COVID quarantine and him having congestive heart failure, we’ve been pretty much on lockdown the entire year. It’s just brought a spark back in his eye. He’s enjoying it so much.

Q: Are Braves people keeping in touch?

A: John Schuerholz (the former general manager/president) has been amazing. He’s a regular visitor. He’s into his art right now. I don’t know if you know this, but he’s taken up art.

Q: I didn’t know that.

A: Yeah, it’s pretty funny. He has taken up art through this, and he’s really pretty good at it. He brings his art over and shows us. And (Braves chairman) Terry McGuirk has been wonderful. He had us to a game in September. That was so good for all of us to get out of the house. It was good to see Bobby – he got to the ballpark and, you know, there’s no one there. It’s so quiet. We got him in his chair and rolled him up there and he heard the pop of that ball hitting the glove when the pitcher was warming up and he just closed his eyes and said, “Ah, that sounds so good.” The Braves have been wonderful to us.

Q: Does Bobby sweat every pitch, every inning?

A: Actually, he’s pretty calm. You know, he’ll still let out a few little choice words (laughs) when things don’t go well for them, but he’s pretty calm. And Brian has been amazing. He calls him after the games and makes him feel like he’s still in the loop.

Q: Do you get as excited as Bobby does?

A: I do. Like I said, after not being able to go anywhere ... with his congestive heart failure, we go to the doctors' appointments and back, and that’s about it. So this has been wonderful. We’ve lightened up a little on the quarantine, and our friends and neighbors have been bringing baseball food – hot dogs and popcorn – over to him. We pretend we’re at the stadium.

Q: Are you doing OK?

A: I am, I am. It’s been a long year and a half. It’s very difficult. He’s in the advanced stages of congestive heart failure, so it’s hard. But we’re OK.

Q: I first got to know him as general manager after he came back from Toronto, and I would see him wearing his sweaters at games. But I still recall the day he went back down to the dugout (as manager) in 1990. I walked in and saw him in his uniform, and I thought, “Yeah, this looks right. This is Bobby Cox.”

A: That’s very true. I get his Braves cap out, and we dress up just like we’re at the ballgame. And it’s wonderful.