Atlanta The Braves didn’t even wait 48 hours to introduce Bobby Cox’s replacement.
No need. Fredi Gonzalez was Atlanta’s manager-in-waiting almost as soon as Cox announced that 2010 would be his final season.
In what was nothing more than a formality, Gonzalez took over Wednesday as the team’s new manager, succeeded the fourth-winningest skipper in baseball history.
Gonzalez said he’s not worried about following in Cox’s large footsteps. The Braves’ manager since 1990, he led the team to an unprecedented 14 straight division titles and the 1995 World Series championship. After missing the playoffs the last four years, Atlanta returned as a wild card this season.
Cox’s managing career ended Monday night when the Braves, devastated by injuries, lost to San Francisco in Game 4 of the NL division series.
“Our goal is simple: We want to keep putting flags on that facade up there,” Gonzalez said. “I don’t think there’s a person alive that’s going to replace Bobby Cox. We just want to continue the winning tradition and go from there.”
Gonzalez’s return to the Atlanta, where he served as Cox’s third-base coach from 2003-06, has been widely expected ever since he was fired in June by the Florida Marlins.