ATLANTA - There’s no quitting in baseball.
And in nearly 60 years in the game, Bobby Cox is not about to break that rule now. Neither will Pam, his wife of 41 years and constant companion during this, the most trying time of their lives.
However, in the year since suffering a devastating stroke -a day after participating in the 2019 Braves home opener- The Skipper has had some major setbacks.
He’s been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, along with a variety of other problems that have slowed what was a promising start to his rehab.
I recently spoke with Bobby and Pam over the phone. Pam would do all the talking in this conversation as Bobby’s speech remains a nagging challenge.
"He tries to make the best of it. He still knows how to push my buttons!" --Pam Cox
KR: What has life been like in the year since the stroke?
Pam: It’s been hard. I’m not gonna lie about that. It has been hard. He’s had a lot of setbacks this past year with different things.. bleeding ulcers.. stuff like that.. a whole lot of setbacks…”
…and then he had the seizures. So, it’s just been one thing after the other. But like I said, he still has his spirit. And we’re still hopeful.
"It's been hard. I'm not gonna lie about that. It's been hard." --Pam Cox
Three months into his rehab, I had the opportunity to visit with Bobby to see how he was coming along.
It was a beautiful sight to see family and physical therapists cheer his every move.
8 children. 23 grand kids. Family is the best medicine.
Aware of his own progress, Bobby did not hesitate when I asked him what his goal was. His emphatic answer was, “I’ll be at spring training.”
On September 2nd, 2019 he even felt strong enough to attend his first Braves game since the stroke.
September 2, 2019
It was an inspirational sight for all. The Braves would go on to beat the Blue Jays that day.
But that was then.
Spring training came and went. And a year later, things are much different.
Pam: He’s been diagnosed with congestive heart failure. He tires quickly. When he stands to walk it takes a lot out of him. He walks around the house. Other than that, he’s just not strong enough.”
…it’s hard for him and it’s hard for me to watch him. He’s always been so active and so, on the go, that’s it’s hard. But you know he’s very strong. He’s strong willed and he’s got great determination. And even through all this he still has a sense of humor. He tries to make the best of it. And he still knows how to push my buttons!
These days Bobby and Pam pass the time watching old baseball movies. Family remains an internal part of his daily care, but nothing can replace visits from old baseball friends.
Pam: He loves to sit and talk baseball with the guys. That’s one thing he’s very clear on. He may not remember yesterday but you can ask him what happened in 1995 and who was pitching a certain game, and he can tell you!
…I would have to say that although he cannot express himself, he’s still there. He’s still a strong man - a determined man. And still loves the game of baseball more than anything… and that is what keeps him going.
Bobby Cox will celebrate his 79th birthday in May, at about the time Major League Baseball hopes to restart spring training. It would be quite a renewal of sorts - for all of us!
KR: What is a good day like?
Pam: It’s good to see him back in his norm, where he’s talking baseball and reminiscing old times and old games. That’s one of the good days.
Warm prayers for Bobby, Pam and their family during this challenging time.
If you would like to send them cards and letters, the Braves will make sure he gets them.
755 Battery Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30339