ATLANTA -- Braves manager Bobby Cox never wanted this record. But it's one that he's going to seemingly keep for a long time. By the time the Braves completed their 5-4 win over the Giants on Tuesday night, Barry Bonds wasn't the only person at Turner Field who could say they'd done something more often than anybody else at the Major League level. Bonds shared that distinction with Cox, who as expected didn't really have a whole lot to say about the fact that he's now been ejected from more games than anybody in Major League history. His record-setting 132nd career ejection came courtesy of plate umpire Ted Barrett, who tossed the veteran skipper for arguing a called third strike against Chipper Jones that ended the fifth inning.
"It's absolutely no factor," Cox said. "It means nothing. It just means I've been around for a long time. That's all." After providing Barrett a few parting shots, Cox walked toward the dugout with little fanfare. Obviously, there were no fireworks or on-field ceremonies similar to the ones that followed Bonds establishing the game's home run record last week. In fact, it seemed that just a small portion of the 36,186 fans in attendance realized that Cox had been ejected. Of course, given Barrett recorded this record-setting heave-ho with just a wave of his hand before the Braves skipper even exited the dugout, there was reason for these fans to not realize they were witnessing history. With this seventh ejection of the season and first since June 23, Cox moved past feisty Hall of Fame manager John McGraw on the all-time ejections list, which includes both players and managers. McGraw received 14 of his ejections during his playing career. As for Cox, each of his ejections have come during the course of a managerial career that began in Atlanta in 1978. If this record is ever broken, it's not going to come any time soon. Second on the ejections list among active managers is St. Louis' Tony La Russa, who needs to get tossed more than 50 more times just to get within sight of this record. "I'm kind of glad that [the record] came on behalf of me," Jones said. "To be honest with you, Bobby has been kind of biting his tongue lately because he's embarrassed by the record. But it was inevitable. He just gets too excited and is passionate about the game." When Barrett called the third strike on a pitch that Jones believed was inside, the Braves third baseman impressively managed to hurl his bat within a few feet of his team's first-base-side dugout. This was followed by the hurling of his batting helmet, which didn't travel quite as far as the bat. "[Barrett] and I didn't see eye-to-eye on the strike zone, and Bobby knows if I'm that upset, that's a ball," Jones said. "I haven't seen it yet, but I'm 120 percent sure that was a ball."
With Jones walking toward his third-base position, Cox began yelling in Barrett's direction. It didn't take long for the veteran umpire to eject the skipper for the 53rd time in his career for arguing balls and strikes. "I think when Bobby saw that I wasn't long for this game, he took over," Jones said. "It worked because our club got fired up after that and came back that next inning and put up four [runs]." Cox's intentions weren't to spark his team. Instead, he was simply once again protecting one of his players -- something that has drawn respect from many of the umpires who have played a role in the setting of this record. "One thing about Bobby is he protects his players," veteran umpire Dale Scott said after Cox was ejected on May 26. "He goes out there and makes sure his players don't get run. He does his job. It's not because umpires are looking to get him, it's because he steps up and gets his guys' backs. Some managers kind of let the guys go. He doesn't. I think that's why he has a lot of ejections. That's a good attribute for him." One of the primary reasons Cox ranks fourth on the all-time managerial wins list is the unwavering loyalty that he's always shown his players, who in turn are motivated to give him everything they have on a regular basis. Whether they're right or wrong, Cox always protects and supports his players both on and off the field. "I remember last year one time, he had my back and I was wrong, so I apologized," Matt Diaz said. "He said, 'Don't worry about it. He'll miss another [call] that we should argue.' He's great to have as a manager."
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.