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Big weekend on tap with stellar Hall of Fame class

Maddux, Glavine, Thomas to join skipper trio, other honorees in Cooperstown

On the day in December that managers Bobby Cox, Joe Torre and Tony La Russa were elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame by the Expansion Era Committee, all were predictably honored.

Cox, who led the Braves to a record 14 consecutive division titles, added a wish. He said he hoped that when the Hall's Class of 2014 was completed a month later that two of his former players -- right-hander Greg Maddux and left-hander Tom Glavine -- would also be selected by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

"I'm going in with great company. I'm just hoping that 'Glav' and 'Mad Dog' can be up there on the stage with me," said Cox. "They were two of the guys who got me there, or helped get me there. That would be the final, finishing touch, going in with those two. 

"I thought about that quite a bit. That would be so special, I can hardly even think about something like that."

Cox had to be smiling Wednesday, when it was announced that Maddux and Glavine, who pitched together for him for a decade in Atlanta, had been elected as first-time candidates along with slugger Frank Thomas.

Most of the focus at the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 27 will be on the former players and the fact that three of the inductees are strongly linked to the Braves. But the fact that three of the greatest managers of their generation will share the dais will make this one of the most memorable inductions ever.

The managers combined for 7,558 regular-season wins, 17 pennants and eight World Series titles, and they were elected unanimously by the 16-member Expansion Era Committee.

La Russa ranks third all-time in wins among managers, compiling a 2,728-2,365 (.536) record in 33 seasons, winning the World Series with the A's in 1989 and the Cardinals in 2006 and '11. He guided Oakland to three American League pennants (1988-90) in 10 seasons and the Cards to three National League pennants (2004, '06 and '11) in 16 years, and also spent eight seasons managing the White Sox, taking them to the AL Championship Series in 1983.

Torre won four World Series titles and six pennants in 29 seasons as a manager, following an 18-year playing career in which he had a .297 batting average. As a manager, he posted a 2,326-1,997 record, good for a .538 winning percentage. Torre led the Yankees to Series titles in 1996, '98, '99 and 2000 (in addition to 100-win seasons in 1998 and from 2002-04), and six AL pennants. He spent his first 14 seasons a manager with the Mets, Braves and Cardinals, and finished his career managing the Dodgers in 2010. Torre took his teams in New York and Los Angeles into the playoffs every year from 1996 through 2009.

Cox ranks fourth all-time in wins among managers, compiling a 2,504-2,001 (.556) record in 29 seasons. His Braves won the 1995 World Series while capturing five NL pennants during his 25 years in Atlanta. Cox also spent four years managing the Blue Jays, taking Toronto to the ALCS in 1985.

Those won't be the only individuals recognized in Cooperstown this summer. On the day before the induction ceremonies, Rangers broadcaster Eric Nadel will receive the Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting, The New Yorker senior editor Roger Angell will be presented with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing, and Joe Garagiola Sr. will be honored as recipient of the Buck O'Neil Lifetime Achievement Award.

Nadel has spent the last 35 years with the Rangers. Angell, 93, becomes the first non-BBWAA winner of the Spink Award after spending years writing about baseball for the prestigious magazine The New Yorker, and Garagiola -- the 1991 Frick winner -- will be honored for his nearly 70 years in professional baseball.

Paul Hagen is a reporter for