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Jose Manuel Cora Amaro (born May 14, 1965 in Caguas, Puerto Rico) was a baseball player with an 11 year career in the MLB spanning the years 1987 and 1989-1998. He played for the San Diego Padres of the National League and the Chicago White Sox, Seattle Mariners and Cleveland Indians of the American League. He played second base, shortstop, third base and designated hitter.
Career as a playerEdit
As a member of the Beaumont Golden Gators Cora received national attention when on June 22, 1986 he was stabbed after a game in San Antonio, Texas. Cora, who was had been a first round draft pick, was waiting outside the team bus following the game against the San Antonio Missions at V.J. Keefe Stadium when two men called his name and then assaulted him. He was stabbed once in the stomach and once in the arm. Cora was quickly rushed to the hospital and later made a full recovery after spending six weeks on the disabled list. A man named Jose Puente, 29, was caught at the scene and was later charged with attempted murder. No motive was ever given for the crime.
He debuted in the Major Leagues in April 6, 1987, as a 21 year old rookie. After spending parts of three seasons with the Padres he was traded to the Chicago White Sox in 1991 where Cora would spend the next four seasons.
In April 6, 1995, he signed with the Seattle Mariners where he would enjoy his most productive seasons at bat. He even established a record for a Mariner with a 24 game hitting streak which is also the record for American League switch hitters. In 1997, he was elected to the American League All-Star team and went on to hit .300 with 11 home runs and 54 RBI.
Cora, who was nicknamed "Little Joey," was one of the most popular Mariners during his time with the team, and many fans admired the tiny second baseman for his hustle, grit, and good nature. He also endeared himself to the fans when the Mariners' storied 1995 season was ended in game six of the 1995 American League Championship Series by the Cleveland Indians. Cora, like thousands of fans in the Kingdome that day, broke down and wept. The footage of him weeping while the Mariners' then-rookie Alex Rodriguez draped his arm across Cora's shoulder and consoled him was widely replayed throughout the Seattle area. This event was memorialized the following year with a very humorous promotional ad. The sensitivity and emotion Cora displayed made him particularly popular with young women in the Pacific Northwest, who would often hold signs at Mariners' home game saying "Marry me, Joey!"
Cora spent most of the 1998 as a Mariner, but with the team falling out of contention he was dealt to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for David Bell, but he barely played due to injuries. He signed a free-agent contract with the Toronto Blue Jays during the off-season, but retired without playing a game.
Through his career, Cora amassed the following statistics:
- Hits: 1,035
- Doubles: 171
- Triples: 41
- Home Runs: 30
- RBI: 294
- Average: .277
Career as a coachEdit
Following his retirement from play, Cora was a manager in the New York Mets minor league system. He was later hired by teammate and good friend, Ozzie Guillén as a coach. He began coaching in 2003 for the Chicago White Sox. His responsibilities included facilitating the role of third base coach and organizing the team's spring training camps prior to his promotion to bench coach following the 2006 season. He occasionally serves as an interim manager whenever Guillen is suspended or ejected from a game, as was the case on June 22, 2006, when Guillen was suspended for one game after ordering White Sox pitcher David Riske to throw at Cardinals player Chris Duncan.
He managed the Venezuelan Winter League baseball team Tiburones de la Guaira in the 2005-2006 season with a record of 31-31 (.500)
Joey is the elder brother of another MLB player, Alex Cora, who plays for the Boston Red Sox. Both brothers are Major League Baseball World Champions. Joey earned his ring as the third base coach of the 2005 World Champion Chicago White Sox. Alex earned his as a member of the 2007 World Champion Boston Red Sox. Also somewhat notable is the fact that Joey struck Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano with a Fungo Bat during the 2006 Major League Baseball All-Star Game 2006 All-Star Game. According to MLB.com, Zambrano backed into the bat while Cora was warming up the American League All-Stars.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube
- Baseball Almanac
- Baseball Library
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