New England sports are no strangers to coaching greatness. The names of Bill Belichick, Red Auerbach, and Terry Francona have brought success and happiness to fans in this part of the country for decades, leading players that became icons and teams that became dynasties. The 50’s and 60’s Boston Celtics,
New England sports are no strangers to coaching greatness. The names of Bill Belichick, Red Auerbach, and Terry Francona have brought success and happiness to fans in this part of the country for decades, leading players that became icons and teams that became dynasties. The 50’s and 60’s Boston Celtics, the 2000’s New England Patriots, and the 2000’s Boston Red Sox will go down as some of the greatest teams ever in sports. Among these greats, there is one that stands out: The latest manager that brought a Commissioner's Trophy to Fenway Park, Alex Cora.
Cora’s path in baseball started in 1975 in Caguas, Puerto Rico, a town where baseball is a big thing. Alex and his older brother Joey pursued their baseball dreams since they were kids. They would end up facing each other in a Major League Baseball field and dedicating their careers to the sport.
Alex was originally drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 12th round of the 1993 Major League Baseball draft, however, he declined the contract and decided to pursue collegiate baseball at the University of Miami. He led his team into the college baseball title game in 1996, but the Hurricanes ended up losing to LSU.
Cora finally turned to professional baseball in 1996 in Single-A, and on June 7, 1998, he made his MLB debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers facing the Seattle Mariners. His brother Joey was the starting second baseman for that Mariners team. Alex spent the next seven years in the LA infield.
After a short journey with the Cleveland Indians, Cora was traded in 2005 to the Red Sox for Ramón Vázquez, the same Ramón Vázquez who would later become a bench coach under Cora. After a four-year period with Boston and a World Series ring in 2007, Cora became a free agent and continued his career with the New York Mets, the Texas Rangers, and the Washington Nationals, however, his story with the Red Sox was far from over.
To add to his playing career, Cora played in the 2006 and 2009 World Baseball Classic with the Puerto Rico National Baseball Team.
His coaching and managing career started with the Houston Astros in 2006 as a bench coach for manager A.J. Hinch. In 2017, he was a part of the coaching staff that finished with a 101-61 record and went on to win his second championship ring. This World Series victory was clouded with some speculations involving a sign-stealing scandal.
The relationship between Worcester Red Sox Chairman and Principal Owner Larry Lucchino and Alex Cora dates to when the Puerto Rican native, as a player, made a positive impression on Lucchino, especially in Boston's 2007 championship season. Worcester Red Sox President Dr. Charles Steinberg weighed in on how Lucchino received the news about Cora becoming the Red Sox manager.
“Larry thought that the selection of Alex Cora as the Red Sox manager was an inspired choice and that certainly that good judgement was rewarded with a World Series Championship and one of the greatest wire-to-wire seasons that the Red Sox have ever had,” Steinberg said. “When the Houston controversies prevented Alex from being our manager in 2019, there were plenty of people who perhaps dropped him like a hot potato. Not Larry, Larry is a loyal guy.”
When Cora was rumored as a candidate to come back to Boston after his suspension, Lucchino was one of his most vocal supporters.
“There is a reason why on the night of September 5, Alex Cora greeted Larry Lucchino in Fenway Park for his award for support to the Jimmy Fund,” Steinberg said.
When Lucchino was asked about his thoughts on Cora, he said, “There is a lot of loyalty here, I think he is the perfect guy for this team, and I think that he has the perfect blend of attributes that it takes to be a major league manager. We are going to win again soon, and it is going to be because of Alex Cora”.