Lake Buena Vista, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa were all unanimously elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on Monday under the Expansion Era Ballot.
The three managers will be enshrined in Cooperstown on July 27.
"I am thrilled that these great managers during my tenure as commissioner will join the legends of our game in the halls of Cooperstown," commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. "In careers of consistent excellence and incredible longevity, Bobby, Tony and Joe all left indelible impacts on our national pastime. For decades, these three individuals not only led great ballclubs, but instilled in their teams a brand of class and professionalism that baseball fans admired. It is fitting that Bobby, Tony and Joe will share our game's highest honor together."
These men were the dominant managerial figures in baseball since the mid-1990s. They all rank in the top five in managerial wins, all with well over 2,000 to their credit.
Torre, who is fifth on that list with 2,326 victories, started his managerial career as a player-manager for the New York Mets and also skippered the Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals and New York Yankees.
Of course, it was with the Yankees that Torre had his most success, as he racked up 1,173 of his wins, while leading them to four World Series titles, six American League pennants, 10 A.L. East titles and a postseason berth in all 12 of his seasons with the club.
"It hits you like a sledgehammer," Torre said. "I can't tell you how excited I am. What makes it even better is to go in with these two guys. We waged a lot of battles against each other. It's just a great, great feeling."
Torre, who now serves as the Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations for Major League Baseball, also enjoyed a terrific playing career for the Braves, Cardinals and Mets. As a player he appeared in nine All-Star games as a catcher, first-baseman and third-baseman and was named the 1971 NL MVP winner as a member of the Cardinals.
Cox, meanwhile, is fourth on the all-time managerial wins list with 2,504 victories. He guided the Atlanta Braves to the 1995 World Series title and 14 consecutive N.L. East pennants. His Braves teams lost four World Series in his time at the helm.
"They say your life changes when you get elected to the Hall of Fame, and it has," Cox said. "I've got goose bumps. It's the greatest honor we could ever have. Hopefully two guys who helped get me to the Hall of Fame, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, will be inducted as well."
Glavine and Maddux are up for election for the first time and voting results will be announced on Jan. 8.
La Russa managed the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals for 33 seasons. He compiled 2,728 wins to rank third all-time behind Connie Mack and John McGraw and won three World Series titles, one with the A's in 1989 and twice with the Cardinals in 2006 and 2011.
"I guess the best way to describe the feeling is just stunned," La Russa said. "When you love baseball, you appreciate the history and the club that you've just been voted into with total respect, humility and honor, I say thank you."
Twelve votes were needed from the 16-man Expansion Era Committee to gain. None of the other nine men, including Marvin Miller and George Steinbrenner, received more than six votes.