José Alexander Cora (born October 18, 1975) is a Puerto Rican professional baseball manager and former infielder. He is the manager for the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball (MLB). Cora led the team to the 2018 World Series championship in his first season as a manager, becoming the fifth manager to do so in MLB history and the first as a Puerto Rican manager.
Cora with the Boston Red Sox in 2008
|Boston Red Sox – No. 20|
|Shortstop / Second baseman / Manager|
|Born: October 18, 1975|
Caguas, Puerto Rico
|June 7, 1998, for the Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 28, 2011, for the Washington Nationals|
|Runs batted in||286|
|Career highlights and awards|
Cora played college baseball at the University of Miami before playing in MLB for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, Texas Rangers, and Washington Nationals from 1998 through 2011. Cora was a baseball analyst for ESPN before becoming a coach and manager. In November 2019, Cora was implicated in a sign-stealing scandal during his time with the Houston Astros. An investigation also began to determine if he took part in another such scandal during his two recent years with the Boston Red Sox as well.
Cora was drafted in the 12th round of the 1993 Major League Baseball draft by the Minnesota Twins, but did not sign a contract and decided instead to play collegiate baseball at the University of Miami. While there, Cora was named to the College World Series all-tournament team in both 1995 and 1996. He led the team to the title game in 1996, a game they lost to Louisiana State University.
Cora was rated by Baseball America as the best collegiate defensive player going into the 1996 draft. Cora was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the third round, and played 61 games of the 1996 season with the Class A-Advanced Vero Beach Dodgers, batting .257 with no home runs and 26 RBIs. He played the 1997 season with the Double-A San Antonio Missions; in 127 games he batted .234 with 3 home runs and 48 RBIs. Cora spent parts of the 1998, 1999, and 2000 seasons with the Triple-A Albuquerque Dukes, hitting .264 in 81 games, .308 in 80 games, and .373 in 30 games, respectively.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Cora made his major league debut on June 7, 1998, with the Dodgers against the Seattle Mariners; his brother Joey Cora was Seattle's starting second baseman in the game. Alex Cora spent the next seven years in Los Angeles, appearing in a total of 684 games while batting .246 with 27 home runs and 173 RBIs. During his time with the Dodgers, he played at second base and shortstop. During the 2000 and 2001 seasons, Cora mostly played shortstop as the Dodgers moved the aging Mark Grudzielanek to second base. With the emergence of César Izturis in 2002, and the trade of Grudzielanek to the Chicago Cubs in December of the same year, Cora spent the rest of his stint with the Dodgers as their primary second baseman.
Cora played in one postseason series with the Dodgers, the 2004 NLDS, which the Dodgers lost to the St. Louis Cardinals. Cora was the Dodgers' second baseman in all four games, batting 2-for-15 (.133) during the series.
In January 2005, Cora signed as a free agent with the Cleveland Indians, where he appeared in 49 games, with 22 starts at shortstop and 14 at second base; he batted .205 with a home run and 8 RBIs. On July 7,2005, Cora was traded to the Boston Red Sox for infielder Ramón Vázquez.
Boston Red Sox
Cora made his Red Sox debut on July 7, 2005, and through the end of the regular season appeared in a total of 47 games for Boston, batting .269 with 2 home runs and 16 RBIs. In the 2005 ALDS, which Boston lost to the Chicago White Sox in a three-game sweep, Cora played in one game as a defensive replacement, without a plate appearance.
Cora was originally intended to back up shortstop Édgar Rentería. With the trade of Rentería to the Atlanta Braves in December 2005, Cora was being eyed to take the position of starting shortstop, until the Red Sox acquired Álex González in February 2006. For the 2006 season, Cora appeared in 96 games, batting .238 with one home run and 18 RBIs.
Cora was a member of the Red Sox team that won the 2007 World Series. During the regular season, he appeared in 83 games and batted .246 with 3 home runs and 18 RBIs. In the postseason, he appeared as a late-innings defensive replacement in two games of the 2007 ALCS and two games of the World Series. He had one plate appearance, a sacrifice bunt in World Series game 3.
For the 2008 regular season, Cora played in 75 games, batting .270 with no home runs and 9 RBIs. He appeared in four postseason games; two games of the 2008 ALDS, which Boston won, and two games of the 2008 ALCS, which Boston lost. He batted 4-for-26 (.154) with no home runs and one RBI. These games were the final postseason appearances for Cora as a player.
On October 30, 2008, Cora became a free agent. In his four seasons with Boston, he appeared in 301 regular season games, batting .252 with 6 home runs and 61 RBIs.
New York Mets
On January 22, 2009, Cora signed a one-year deal with the New York Mets. During the 2009 season, he appeared in 82 games, batting .251 with one home run and 18 RBIs. In November 2009, Cora re-signed with the Mets for the 2010 season, with an option for 2011. He was released by the Mets on August 7, 2010 — at the time, he was batting .207 with no home runs and 20 RBIs, having played in 62 games of the 2010 season. In his time with the Mets, Cora appeared in a total of 144 games, with a .234 batting average, 1 home run, and 38 RBIs.
On August 17, 2010, Cora signed a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers, and was assigned to their Triple-A affiliate Oklahoma City, where he appeared in 6 games, batting 4-for-22 (.182). He then played four games for the Rangers, batting 2-for-7 (.286). The Rangers released Cora on September 7. Despite his limited time with Texas, the team later rewarded him with an AL Championship ring.
In January 2011, the Nationals signed Cora to a minor league contract. During the 2011 season, he appeared in 91 games for Washington, batting .224 with no home runs and 6 RBIs. Cora's final MLB appearance was with the Nationals on September 28, 2011, when he tripled as a pinch hitter against the Florida Marlins.
Following the 2011 season, Cora played winter baseball in Puerto Rico, after which he announced his retirement; shortly thereafter he clarified that he was retiring only from winter baseball. He agreed to a minor league contract with the St. Louis Cardinals on February 5, 2012. After batting .208 with one RBI in 24 plate appearances in spring training, Cora was released by the defending World Series champions on March 25, 2012.
With the Dodgers on May 12, 2004, Cora had an 18-pitch at-bat against Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Matt Clement. Facing a 2–1 count, Cora fouled off 14 straight pitches before finally hitting a home run. It is the third longest documented at-bat since baseball statisticians began keeping track of pitch counts in the mid-1980s. So much time elapsed that Cora's brother Joey joked that he and a friend were watching the game at a restaurant, ordering their first beer during the first pitch, and by the time Cora homered they were "so drunk that we had to call a cab to take us home."
Cora played in the two longest nine-inning games in MLB history. The first was a 4-hour, 27-minute game on October 5, 2001, between the Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants. The second game, and the longest on record, was a 4-hour, 45-minute game on August 18, 2006, the second game of a doubleheader between the Red Sox and the New York Yankees. Cora entered the 2001 game as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning, and was the starting shortstop in the 2006 game.
In the third game of the 2018 MLB World Series, Cora managed the Boston Red Sox in the longest game in World Series history: an 18-inning, 7-hour-and-20-minute, 561-pitch game that began on Friday, October 26, at 5:09 pm and ended after midnight the next day. The Los Angeles Dodgers, being down two games to none, won 3-2 on a walk-off home run by Max Muncy.
On August 25, 2017, Cora was ejected from a game against the Los Angeles Angels by home plate umpire Laz Díaz. Cora argued that the baseball had too much dirt on it and should be removed from play; this was Cora's first career MLB ejection.
Cora received his second World Series ring as a coach while with the Astros.
During the 2017 ALCS, Cora interviewed for the open managerial position of the Boston Red Sox. It was subsequently reported that Cora would be named as Red Sox manager. On October 22, the day after the Astros defeated the New York Yankees in the 2017 ALCS, the Red Sox announced a three-year managerial contract for Cora, for the 2018 through 2020 seasons, with an option for 2021.
Cora formally assumed the role on November 2, 2017, following the World Series. On August 3, 2018, Cora was ejected for the first time as a manager by home plate umpire Adam Hamari for arguing warnings being issued to both benches by first base umpire and crew chief Phil Cuzzi in a game against the Yankees. Cora and the 2018 Red Sox finished with 108 wins and 54 losses.
In the American League Division Series, the Red Sox eliminated the New York Yankees, three games to one, and advanced to the American League Championship Series. Cora received his first postseason ejection on October 13, in Game 1 of the ALCS against the Houston Astros. He was ejected by home plate umpire James Hoye between the 5th and 6th innings for arguing balls and strikes. On October 18, Cora's 43rd birthday, the Red Sox defeated the Astros, 4–1, to win the ALCS in five games. The Red Sox then defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series in five games to give Cora his first championship as a manager and third overall. Cora became the fifth rookie manager to win a World Series, the others being Bob Brenly in 2001, Ralph Houk in 1961, Eddie Dyer in 1946, Bucky Harris in 1924. In voting for the AL Manager of the Year Award, Cora finished second to Bob Melvin of the Oakland Athletics.
Cora lives in Caguas, Puerto Rico, during the off-season. He has four children, including twins born during the 2017 season.
His older brother is Joey Cora, a former MLB utility player and current coach.
After winning the 2018 World Series, Cora took the World Series trophy to his hometown of Caguas on November 3, 2018.
Cora was involved in relief help for Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria in 2017.
Sign stealing accusations
On November 13, 2019, it was announced that Cora, along with former Astros player Carlos Beltrán, played key roles in the Astros sign stealing scandal during their time with the team, which included the 2017 championship season. Though no evidence has been produced suggesting that Cora took part in another sign stealing scandal in his two recent years as manager of the Red Sox, an investigation against the Red Sox nevertheless began by November 15, 2019, with the team reported as "full cooperating."
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- in attendance
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