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Braves hoping for speedy recovery for 'icon' Cox

@mlbbowman
April 3, 2019

ATLANTA -- There was a noticeable void as the Braves prepared for Wednesday night’s game against the Cubs, as their Hall of Fame manager Bobby Cox remained hospitalized at a nearby hospital recovering from an apparent stroke. “He’s an icon,” Braves catcher Brian McCann said. “He is the Atlanta Braves.”

ATLANTA -- There was a noticeable void as the Braves prepared for Wednesday night’s game against the Cubs, as their Hall of Fame manager Bobby Cox remained hospitalized at a nearby hospital recovering from an apparent stroke.

“He’s an icon,” Braves catcher Brian McCann said. “He is the Atlanta Braves.”

Specifics of Cox’s current condition have not been officially released. But sources have indicated doctors remain hopeful he will eventually regain speech capabilities and feeling on the right side of his body. The 77-year-old former Braves skipper fell ill at his house early Tuesday evening before being rushed to an Atlanta-area hospital for emergency surgery.

“We all know Bobby Cox,” Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman said. “I don’t think a stroke is going to keep him down. So we’re going to hopefully see him in here real soon.”

The Braves issued a statement from Cox’s family: “We want to thank all of you who have sent their well wishes or said a prayer. We know the power of Braves Country and we hope those prayers and positive thoughts continue as Bobby heals. You don’t know how much your support means to Bobby and to our family.”

Braves manager Brian Snitker said Cox acknowledged his presence when he visited the hospital Tuesday morning.

“He’s holding up great as Bobby would,” Snitker said. “He’s a strong man. He’s very determined. He’s got a strong will. It is just something right now where we’re doing a lot of praying. We’re there for him.”

Snitker’s voice cracked as he spoke about the legendary manager, who rebuilt the Braves organization as a general manager during the late 1980s, then reaped the benefits as the club won 14 consecutive division titles (1991-2005), five National League pennants and one World Series (1995) while he served as the club’s manager from 1990-2010.

Around 2 p.m. before most home games, Cox would share coffee with Snitker, the coaches and players like Freeman, who has counted himself fortunate to build a strong bond with the legendary manager, who was inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 2014.

“He was my first manager,” said Freeman, who debuted late in the 2010 season. “He’s a Hall of Fame manager and a Hall of Fame person. I think anybody who knows him, it chokes you up because it’s tough to see this happen to a great man. When you know Bobby, it puts a smile on your face as well because you know he’s as tough as they come. He means the world to me and everybody in this organization.”

Upon returning to the Braves after a five-year absence this season, McCann enjoyed the chance to reunite with Cox, who had served as his manager for the first six seasons (2005-2010) of his career.

“You just hope for a speedy recovery,” McCann said. “Bobby is one of the best human beings any of us have ever met. He’s touched so many lives in here. As far as my career, I wouldn’t be where I am today without him. I’m thinking about him a lot.”

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.