As recently as three weeks ago, there was just one solitary Latino manager in Major League Baseball. Since that time, the league must have started to truly pay attention to under-representation of Latinos in manager roles, because things have changed quickly. Normally, teams keep a low profile during the World Series but this year’s Fall Classic was a little bit different. Both the Boston Red Sox and Washington Nationals decided to get a head start on what should be another busy offseason for baseball.
They did so by giving two Latinos–both former players and recent assistant coaches–a chance to be managers in the big leagues for the first time. The Red Sox hired Alex Cora–who just won the World Series as the bench coach for the Houston Astros–to be their next manager, while the Nationals lured Dave Martinez away from last year’s world champion Chicago Cubs to run their dugout. They, along with Chicago White Sox manager Rick Renteria, now bring the number of Latino managers in MLB up to three.
Both men are baseball lifers who came up through the ranks, paid their dues, and earned their way into their new jobs. Cora, 42, was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico. He’s the younger brother of respected second baseman and coach Joey Cora, and was an infielder in his own right from 1998 to 2011. During his career, he wore the uniforms of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, Texas Rangers, and the Washington Nationals before retiring with a career slash line of .243/.310/.648 with 35 career home runs, 286 RBI’s, and 47 stolen bases.
He also suited up for Puerto Rico during the 2006 and 2009 editions of the World Baseball Classic, going a combined 3-for-23 at the plate. After retiring from the field, Cora became the general manager of Puerto Rico’s national team, which finished second in both the 2013 and 2017 editions of the WBC. From 2013 to 2016, Cora also worked as a baseball analyst for ESPN and ESPN Deportes, where he impressed millions of viewers on a weekly basis with his insider knowledge of the game. Finally, this past offseason, Cora was hired by the Astros to be their bench coach as they marched to their first World Series title in franchise history.
Before the Astros made history however, Cora made history of his own. After the Boston Red Sox were eliminated from the 2017 playoffs, they parted ways with manager John Farrell–despite the fact that he led the team to the 2013 World Series and three American League East titles. Cora was one of the first candidates to interview for the job and, just before the Astros took the field against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game 1, the Red Sox officially made Cora the 47th manager–and the first Latino manager–in Boston history.
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