LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Three legendary managers who combined for 7,558 wins and eight World Series championships are entering the Hall of Fame together.
Contemporaries Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre, who rank third, fourth and fifth, respectively, on the career list for managerial victories, were elected unanimously to the Hall on Monday by the expansion-era committee.
All three managers surpassed 2,000 wins, a magical figure of sorts because no manager with at least that many has been excluded from the Hall.
Longtime players union head Marvin Miller, who came up a vote short of the 12 required from a 16-person panel during the last expansion-era balloting three years ago, failed to get elected on his sixth time on the ballot. Miller died in November 2012.
Iconic New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who died in 2010, wasn't elected either.
Cox has a chance to be inducted in July with two of his ace pitchers: Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux are on the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot for the first time and are expected to earn election.
La Russa, Cox and Torre began their careers on the bench within two years of each other, between 1977 and '79, and concluded their stay between 2010 and 2011 as three of the most successful managers the game has seen.
While Torre collected the most titles with four, La Russa went out on top when he guided the St. Louis Cardinals to the championship in 2011, then retired soon after. It was his second crown with St. Louis after winning one in 1989 with the Oakland Athletics. He joined Hall of Famer Sparky Anderson as the only managers to earn World Series rings in both leagues.
La Russa's impact went beyond that. While with the A's from 1986-95, he pioneered the use of the specialized bullpen and one-inning closer, staples of the game today.
The subject of two books, including George Will's "Men at Work'' in 1991, La Russa was known for his fierce competitiveness and innovative bent. He employed such unusual moves as batting the pitcher in the eighth spot, using a left-handed third baseman for several games in 1984 and briefly trying a three-man rotation while with the A's.
Cox piloted the Braves when they won 14 consecutive division titles from 1991-2005, although that dynasty claimed only one World Series, in 1995. He had two stints with Atlanta, first from 1978-81, before a four-year run with the Toronto Blue Jays that featured the franchise's first AL East title in 1985.
After that season, Cox returned to Atlanta as general manager, and in 1990 he went back to the bench.
The Braves' string of division crowns, behind strong rotations that featured the likes of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz, began the next year.
The excitable Cox also made an impact with umpires, who ejected him a record 158 times in his career.
Torre, now MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations, had an 894-1,003 managerial record over 11 seasons with three teams when he joined the Yankees in 1996, the beginning of a golden era that included four World Series titles in his first five seasons and six AL pennants in eight years.
Torre finished his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, winning two NL West crowns before retiring after the 2010 season.