As the San Francisco Giants celebrated on the field after their series-winning 3-2 win in Game 4 of the NLDS, Atlanta Braves fans chanted “Bobby! Bobby! Bobby!”

Fans cheered and applauded right after the game, as a tribute to Bobby Cox was played on the video board. The Braves watched from the edge of the dugout as Cox came out and tipped his cap to the fansthe same one he had slammed to the dirt in frustration just this past Friday night.

The Giants momentarily stopped their celebration, faced the Braves’ dugout and tipped their caps to Cox.

“I saw them, and I gave them a thumbs-up, too…That was nice, a nice gesture by the Giants. I love (manager Bruce) Bochy. He’s one of the best guys in baseball. If we couldn’t win, I’m glad he did.”

The nail-biting loss will be the final one of Cox’ careerone that will send him into retirement from Major League Baseball.

Cox is retiring after 29 seasons as a major league manager, 25 with the Braves and 4 with the Toronto Blue Jays.

He led the Braves to a record 14 straight division championships, five NL championships and the 1995 World Series. This 2010 Braves team was his first wild-card team.

He managed 16 teams to the postseason, including leading the Blue Jays to their first AL East title in 1985. Cox finishes with 2,504 regular-season wins, fourth all-time behind Connie Mack, John McGraw and Tony La Russa.

He had 158 regular-season ejections, the most among managers. He’ll finish as a two-time World Series Champion (1977, 1995) and a four-time Manager of the Year (1985 in the AL, 1991, 2004, 2005 in the NL).

Cox has been named Manager of the Year four times (1985, 1991, 2004, and 2005) and is one of only four managers to have won the award in both the American and National League. He is also the only person to have won the award in consecutive years.

Cox has also been named Manager of the Year by The Sporting News eight times (1985, 1991, 1993, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005).

He won’t be away from the game entirely, thoughafter more than 50 years in baseball as a player, coach, manager and general manager, Cox will be a consultant’s role with the team. He says his role will be minor, and will include visits with the organization’s minor league players.

Cox, however, isn’t the only longtime manager to retire this year. He joins Joe Torre, Cito Gaston and Lou Piniella, all of whom are bidding farewell to the game they love.

As Cox entered the clubhouse after the game, Braves’ C Brian McCann immediately realized that this was the end of the road for arguably the greatest manager in baseball history.

“He came in for a minute and walked out. He let us know that he appreciated that we played hard every single day. We just wish we were still playing. We played as hard as we could…sad, definitely sad. I’m gonna miss him. He’s an amazing manager, an amazing person. We’re all going to miss him around here.”

Injured 3B Chipper Jones, who is the longest-tenured Brave and has been with Cox longer than any current MLB player, said he’s never seen Cox so emotional.

“It’s still hard to believe he’s not going to be the manager come spring training.”

When asked how Cox would spend his first day of retirement, he said,

“I don’t know, I’m going to try to come out here. I’m not sure yet.”

The Braves will turn their attention to finding Cox’ replacementone that will almost have to be overqualified based on Cox’s successes with the Braves. Meanwhile, Cox will be able to turn his attention to a pair of cruisesone bought by his wife, Pam, and one by his players.

Pam prepaid for a cruise for the couple next April. Cox says he’s looking forward to more time with his family, but those close to him wonder how he’ll cope with being away from the game on a daily basis, as he’s been involved in baseball his entire life, and many thought he’d never walk away from the game.

On his cruise, though, he’ll have plenty of time to think about what he’ll say for sis Cooperstown speech, when he’ll be a first-ballot inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Emotional during the post-game press conference, Cox said,

“I’m proud of this team…I told them that a little while ago. They played their hearts out, and I’ll miss them.”

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