(Reuters) - Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre, who each rank in the top five on Major League Baseball's all-time list for wins as managers, have been elected to baseball's Hall of Fame, it was announced on Monday.
The three managers were each named on all 16 ballots cast by the Expansion Era Committee, which had also considered nine other former players, executives and contributors to the game.
Seventy-five percent of the vote was needed for election by the committee set up to judge contributions to the sport from 1973 to the present.
Cox, La Russa and Torre will be joined in the Hall of Fame Class of 2014 by any electees who emerge from the Baseball Writers' Association of America voting, which will be announced on January 8.
Cox, a four-time Manager of the Year, skippered the Braves and Blue Jays for 29 seasons, leading his teams to 15 first-place finishes in their division.
From 1991-2005, he led the Braves to 14 consecutive seasons in the playoffs. The Braves won five National League pennants and the 1995 World Series under Cox, who finished with 2,504 wins - fourth-best all time.
La Russa, another four-time Manager of the Year, steered the White Sox, A's and Cardinals for 33 seasons, winning 2,728 games for the third-highest career total behind Hall of Famers Connie Mack and John McGraw.
He led his teams to 12 first-place finishes, six pennants and three World Series titles - one with the A's (1989) and two with the Cardinals (2006 and 2011).
Torre led the Yankees to six American League pennants and four World Series titles (1996, 1998-2000) in 12 seasons. He also managed the Mets, Braves, Cardinals and Dodgers - winning one division title with Atlanta and two with Los Angeles.
His 2,326 wins in 29 seasons ranks fifth.
Torre also spent 18 seasons as a big league catcher/third baseman, earning nine All-Star selections and winning the 1971 NL Most Valuable Player award.
"It hits you like a sledgehammer," Torre told reporters about his enshrinement next summer in Cooperstown. "I can't tell you how excited I am. Makes it even better to get in with these two guys."
Falling short of election were Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Billy Martin, Marvin Miller, Dave Parker, Dan Quisenberry, Ted Simmons and George Steinbrenner.
(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York, Editing by Justin Palmer)