LaRussa, Cox and Torre rank 3-4-5 in the history of MLB in regards to wins recorded by a manager, trailing only Connie Mack and John McGraw. The careers of the three behind the bench speak for themselves. LaRussa was revolutionary as he could be be given credit, or blamed for the use of situational relievers in the game today. He managed the Chicago White Sox from 1979-1986, the Oakland Athletics from 1986-1995 and the St Louis Cardinals from 1996-2011. His record in Chicago was 522-510, in Oakland was 798-763 and in St Louis was 1408-1182. He won three league pennants (1988, 1990 and 2004) and three World Series titles, one with the Athletics in 1989 and two with the Cardinals in 2006 and 2011. While all three are deserving of the call, I feel LaRussa is the most deserving. He was the best manager of this entire generation, not to take anything away from the others. His career record was 2725-2365. a winning percentage of .536.
Cox should always be remembered for the Atlanta Braves stretch of division titles, which started with the NL West title in 1991 and lasted through the Braves NL East title of 2005. With parity as it is in MLB today, a streak like that is unlikely to be duplicated. Cox, of course, managed the Braves from 1978-1981, the Toronto Blue Jays from 1982-1985 and the Braves again from 1990-2010. His record the first time around in Atlanta was an underwhelming 266-326. He had more success in Toronto, going 355-292. Of course, he made his mark by going 1875-1383 in his second time in Atlanta, winning a World Series title in 1995 and NL Pennants in 1991, 1992, 1996 and 1999. He finished his career with a 2504-2001 record and a .556 winning percentage. He also ended up breaking the record for most ejections held by McGraw, which was 131. Cox finished with 159, a record that will take a lot to break.
Torre started out as a player manager for the New York Mets in 1977. His record there was an unimpressive 286-420, as he stayed through the 1981 season. He then went to Atlanta, finishing with a 257-229 record, winning the NL West in 1982, finishing second in 1983 and being in a tooth and neck pennant race with the eventual NL Pennant winning San Diego Padres in 1984. After his three seasons in Atlanta, he moved on to the St Louis Cardinals, where he would stay from 1990-1995. He finished with a record of 351-354. Many in the NY area criticized the Yankees organization or naming him manager after the 1995 season. He responded with a legendary run over his 12 seasons in pinstripes. His record was 1173-767 and he won World Series titles in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000. The team also won AL Pennants in 2001 and 2003. In the history of the Yankees franchise, only Joe McCarthy has more wins with 1460, as he passed Casey Stengel's total of 1149. Of long serving NYY managers, Torre's .605 winning percentage trails Stengel's .623 and McCarthy's .627.
After his time with the Yankees was done, he moved on to the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2008-2010, finishing a 259-227 record over his three seasons in LA. His career record as a manager was 2326-1997 over his 29 seasons behind the bench.
What is great about Torre gaining induction into the Hall of Fame is the fact that he was a very good player before he got behind the bench. His numbers as a catcher for his first 11 seasons were up there with many of the best to have done it. He followed it up with a tremendous 1971 season, winning the NL MVP with a .363, 24, 137 season, OPSing .976 and leading the NL with 230 hits for the Cardinals. Many held him out because he didn't compile high enough numbers. His career line sits at 2342 hits, an OPS of .817 and a .297, 252, 1185 final line.
I took some time to find the common players to play between the three of them. In doing so, I also found the amount of players to play for both Torre and LaRussa, Torre and Cox and LaRussa and Cox. The fact that Torre took over for Cox with the 1985 Atlanta Braves and LaRussa replaced Torre with the 1996 Cardinals allowed more players to play for Cox and Torre as well as Torre and LaRussa. 98 players played for both Cox and Torre, while 82 players played for both Torre and LaRussa. When it came to Cox and LaRussa, only 41 players played for both of the managers.
When it comes to the players to play for all three, the first was Claudell Washington, who first played for LaRussa in Chicago from 1978-1980, then for Torre with the Mets in 1980 and again with the Braves from 1982-1984. He finished it off by playing for Cox with the 1981 Braves. Next was Atlanta 2B Glenn Hubbard. Hubbard played for Cox from 1978-1981, then for Torre from 1982-1984, all with the Atlanta Braves. He finished it off by joining LaRussa with the Athletics in 1988-1989. Former MLB catcher Matt Sinatro played for Cox with the 1981 Braves and Torre for the 1982-1984 Braves, finishing it off by playing for LaRussa on the Athletics in 1987-1988. 3B Brook Jacoby was the next to do it, playing for Cox with the 1981 Braves, Torre with the 1983 Braves and LaRussa with the 1991 Athletics.
Next to play for all three was RHP Jeff Parrett, who played for Cox in Atlanta in 1990-1991, then playing for LaRussa in Oakland in 1992. He finished it off by playing for Torre in St Louis in 1995, sticking around to reunite with LaRussa when he took over the Cardinals in 1996. Brian Jordan was next, playing for Torre with the Cardinals from 1992-1995, then playing for LaRussa in St Louis from 1996-1998. He went to the Braves for the 1999 season, where Cox was the manager, and was in Atlanta from 1999-2001 and again from 2005-2006.
The next to play for all three was OF Luis Polonia, who played for LaRussa in Oakland from 1987-1989, for Cox with the 1996 Braves and for Torre with the 2000 Yankees. RHP Darren Holmes played for Torre with the Yankees in 1998, LaRussa with the Cardinals in 2000 and finished off by playing for Cox in Atlanta in 2002-2003. OF Darren Bragg played for LaRussa in St Louis in 1999, Torre with the Yankees in 2001 and for Cox in Atlanta in 2002-2003. Next to do it was RHP Steve Karsay, who played for LaRussa in Oakland in 1993-1993, Cox in Atlanta in 2001 and Torre with the Yankees from 2002-2005. Finally, SS Rafael Furcal played for Cox from 2000-2005, Torre from 2008-2010 and then for LaRussa in 2011. One played nearly played for all three. RHP Mike Morgan played for Cox in Toronto in 1983 and LaRussa for Oakland in 1992 and 1996. He was acquired by the St Louis Cardinals on June 15th from the Cubs. That was the same day Torre was fired and replaced by Mike Jorgensen. So, Torre technically was Morgan's manager.
I'm sure the 12 players who got to play for all three Hall of Famers feel doubtly blessed. Cox, LaRussa and Torre represent the greatest to manage in the time they were in the dugout. LaRussa managed from 1979-2011, Cox from 1978-1985 and 1990-2010 and Torre managed from 1977-1984 and 1990-2010. It is absolutely fitting that the three get to be enshrined together.