Bobby Cox throws out first pitch

Updated: April 8, 2011, 8:47 PM ET
Associated Press

ATLANTA -- Bobby Cox passed the torch to Fredi Gonzalez with a sinking four-seamer.

Cox, the former Braves manager, threw out the first pitch to Gonzalez, his successor, before Atlanta's home opener against the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night.

[+] EnlargeBobby Cox
AP Photo/David GoldmanFormer manager Bobby Cox threw out the first pitch to successor Fredi Gonzalez before the Braves' home opener.

Cox was still visibly excited minutes later.

"Opening Day, you bet, it is a thrill," Cox said, adding he was nervous.

Cox, wearing his No. 6 jersey over khaki pants, tipped his Braves cap to the fans before throwing the pitch -- a little wide -- from the front of the mound before Friday night's game. Gonzalez, a former catcher, caught the pitch and the two then embraced briefly.

"I threw a four-seamer that sunk," Cox said.

Cox waved his cap to cheering fans again while leaving the field.

The ceremony came before the Braves' first home game with Gonzalez as manager.

Gonzalez, Cox's third-base coach from 2003-06, received a loud ovation during pregame introductions before the first-pitch ceremony.

Cox, fourth all-time with 2,504 wins, including 2,149 in 25 years with the Braves, retired after last season.

The Braves won 14 straight division titles and the 1995 World Series under Cox before making it back to the postseason as a wild card last year.

The team will retire Cox's No. 6 on Aug. 12 before a home game against the Chicago Cubs.

Cox warmed up by throwing out the first pitch for Triple-A Gwinnett on Thursday night.

"I got nervous last night in Gwinnett. Same thing tonight," he said. "I've only thrown it out twice now in my life, last night and tonight."


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press