Cox's candidacy is matched on the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot by two Braves pitchers -- Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine -- who pitched for Cox for a decade during his 25-year tenure managing in Atlanta. Maddux totaled 355 wins and Glavine added 305 for the Braves and several other teams. All three are on their respective ballots for the first time.
"Those guys were a big part of my baseball career, both Bobby and Glav," Maddux said. "To be able to share something with them again would be that much more special. You're always rooting for the best for your teammates and your ex-teammates. Whatever happens, happens. I'll be happy for both of them regardless of what happens. Just to be considered is an honor."
Thus, the induction ceremony behind the Clark Sports Center in Cooperstown, N.Y., on July 28 could have a distinct Braves flavor.
Cox, Torre and La Russa are joined on the ballot by another landmark skipper, Billy Martin, along with players Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Dave Parker, Dan Quisenberry and Ted Simmons. Marvin Miller, the first and highly influential executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, and iconic Yankees principal owner George Steinbrenner round out the ballot.
"Wow, that's a great group," Cox, who managed the Braves for 25 of his 29 seasons as a skipper, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution earlier this month. "It's something that you dream about, that's for sure. You don't think a lot about it, but it's one of those situations where if it happens, it happens, and if it doesn't, it doesn't. But I'm happy to be amongst that group, that's for sure. I'm honored."
Maddux and Glavine played together under Cox in Atlanta for 10 seasons.
"I thought about that quite a bit," Cox said about the possibility of being inducted in the same class as Maddux and Glavine in July. "That would be so special, I can hardly even think about something like that. If I ever got elected in, a lot of it would be because of those guys, that's for sure."
Miller's name has previously been on ballots studied by several permutations of the Veterans Committee, and he missed election by a single vote on the first Expansion Era ballot three years ago. He died a year ago.
Miller's renewed candidacy becomes even more poignant in the wake of the death last week of Michael Weiner, the union's most recent executive director who lost a 15-month battle with brain cancer.
"Obviously, when it comes to our little sport of baseball, there's no one, and I mean no one, who's had more influence over the last 50 years than Marvin Miller," Weiner said at Miller's memorial service.
Steinbrenner, Martin, Concepcion, Garvey, John and Simmons were also on the previous Expansion Era ballot but did not receive the requisite number of votes.
Like all Hall of Fame votes, a candidate's name needs to appear on at least 75 percent of the ballots to be elected. On this committee, that's 12 votes. Members can vote for a maximum of five candidates.
The annual players ballot voted on by eligible members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America was released on Nov. 26. Newcomers on that ballot include Maddux, Glavine, Frank Thomas, Jeff Kent and Mike Mussina.
Earlier this year, the writers didn't vote in a player among a contingent that included Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, Craig Biggio and Mike Piazza. All of them are back on this year's ballot. Biggio received the most votes last year, 388, or 68.2 percent of the total ballots cast.
Last December, a Pre-Integration Committee voted in Col. Jacob Ruppert, who owned the Yankees during the Babe Ruth era, 19th-century catcher Deacon White and turn-of-the-20th-century umpire Hank O'Day.
As a result, the induction ceremony held in Cooperstown, N.Y., last July didn't include a living inductee. No one expects that to occur again on July 27-28, when the 75th-anniversary induction weekend ceremonies are staged.
Here are the qualifications of the 12-man Expansion Era ballot:
• Concepcion spent 19 seasons as a Reds shortstop, compiling a .267 average with 2,326 hits, 321 stolen bases and two Silver Slugger Awards, plus five Gold Glove Awards and nine All-Star Game selections.
• Cox ranks fourth all-time in wins among managers, compiling a 2,504-2,001 (.556) record in 29 seasons as a Major League manager. His Braves won the 1995 World Series while capturing five National League pennants during his 25 years with the Braves. Cox also spent four years managing the Blue Jays. He led Atlanta to 14 straight division titles from 1991-2005.
• Garvey compiled a .294 career average over 19 seasons with the Dodgers and Padres, amassing 2,599 hits, 272 home runs, 1,308 RBIs and 10 All-Star Game selections. He hit .338 with 11 home runs and 31 RBIs in 11 postseason series, was the Most Valuable Player in the NL Championship Series in 1978 and '84, and won the 1981 Roberto Clemente Award. Garvey won four Gold Glove Awards and played in an NL-record 1,207 straight games.
• John pitched in 26 seasons for the Indians, Dodgers, Yankees, Angels and A's, finishing his career after the 1989 season with a record of 288-231 and a 3.34 ERA. His 700 career starts rank eighth on the all-time list and his 4,710 1/3 innings rank 20th all-time.
• La Russa ranks third all-time in wins among managers, compiling a 2,728-2,365 (.536) record in 33 seasons, winning the World Series with the A's in 1989 and the Cardinals in 2006 and '11. He also guided Oakland to three American League pennants (1988-90) in 10 seasons and the Cardinals to three NL pennants (2004, '06 and '11) in 16 years. La Russa also spent eight seasons managing the White Sox, taking them to the ALCS in 1983.
• Martin spent 16 seasons (1969, 1971-83, '85, '88) managing the Twins, Tigers, Rangers, Yankees and A's, compiling a 1,253-1,015 record (.552). His teams finished in first place five times. Martin won two AL pennants and one World Series (1977) with the Yanks. He had five different stints with New York.
• Miller was elected as the head of the MLBPA in 1966 and turned it into a powerhouse union. Within a decade, Miller had secured free agency for the players, and by the time he retired in 1982, the average player salary was approximately 10 times what it was when he took over.
• Parker compiled a .290 career average over 19 seasons with six teams, spending 11 years with Pittsburgh and four years with Cincinnati, amassing 339 home runs, 1,493 RBIs and two batting titles (1977-78). The 1978 NL MVP Award winner was named to seven All-Star Games and won three Gold Glove Awards.
• Quisenberry recorded 244 saves in a 12-year career, spending 10 seasons with Kansas City, during which time he finished in the top five in AL Cy Young Award voting five times. He was named to three All-Star teams, led the AL in saves five times and posted a career 56-46 record with a 2.76 ERA in 674 relief appearances.
• Simmons played for 21 seasons, mostly as a catcher, totaling a .285 batting average, 2,472 hits, 483 doubles, 248 home runs and 1,389 RBIs for the Cardinals, Brewers and Braves. An eight-time All-Star, he garnered MVP votes six times.
• Steinbrenner, a charismatic owner who frequently dominated the media coverage of the Yankees, guided the franchise as its principal owner from 1973, when he purchased the team, until his death in 2010, during which time New York won 11 AL pennants and seven World Series titles.
• Torre won four World Series titles and six pennants in 29 seasons as a manager, following an 18-year playing career in which he had a .297 batting average. As a manager, he posted a 2,326-1,997 record, good for a .538 winning percentage. Torre led the Yankees to Series titles in 1996, '98, '99 and 2000 (in addition to 100-win seasons in 1998 and from 2002-04), and six AL pennants. He spent his first 14 seasons a manager with the Mets, Braves and Cardinals, and finished his career managing the Dodgers in 2010. Torre took his teams in New York and Los Angeles into the playoffs every year from 1996-2009.
The 16-member electorate charged with the review of the Expansion Era ballot consists of Hall of Famers Rod Carew, Carlton Fisk, Whitey Herzog, Tommy Lasorda, Paul Molitor, Joe Morgan, Phil Niekro, and Frank Robinson; Major League executives Paul Beeston of the Blue Jays, Dave Montgomery of the Phillies, Jerry Reinsdorf of the White Sox and Andy MacPhail, formerly of the Twins, Cubs and Orioles. They are joined by historians Steve Hirdt of Elias Sports Bureau, Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle, Jack O'Connell, secretary-treasurer of the BBWAA, and Jim Reeves, recently retired from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.