Sunday, May 23, 2010

Retro Mariner Sunday 5/23/10

Time again. It's Sunday, it's raining like all get out and I need to look back in the past for another player. The first name that for some reason was this guy this week. Not a guy I was all that fond of, but did help us when we needed him.

After growing up in Puerto Rico, Joey Cora went to Vanderbilt University. He was the 23rd player selected in the first round of the 1985 draft. He spent that summer in Spokane,WA playing for the Indians of the Northwest League. In 1986, he moved up to AA and was playing for the Golden Gators in Beaumont, TX.

During the 1986 season on June 22, Joey was tabbed after a game in San Antonio, TX.  He 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. Apparently he had exchanged words with fans outside of the visitor's dressing room, resulting in the fans returning with more men later on.

1987 would see Joey make the jump to the big leagues and be the starting second baseman for the Padres on opening day in 1987. During 1987, he basically spent half his time with the Padres, and half with the AAA Las Vegas Stars. 1988 was spent in Las Vegas. Joey spent most of 1989 in Vegas, but also played for the Padres a small amount in 1989. 1990 was a 50/50 split on playing time between AAA and the majors. At the end of spring training in 1991, the Padres traded Joey and two other players to the Chicago White Sox for two players. In '91 he split time with Scott Fletcher at 2nd base, and in '92 he split time with Steve Sax. In 1993 and 1994 he was the everyday 2nd baseman for the White Sox.

During the start of camp in 1995 after the strike Joey signed as a free agent with the Mariners. He would be the everyday 2nd baseman for the next four years. He was remembered by the Seattle fans when the magical run of the 1995 season ended, when he was consoled by then rookie Alex Rodriguez while crying in the dugout of the Kingdome. Because of that little moment, the women of Seattle all fell in love with "Little Joey," and his sensitive side. For the years to come you would find many signs in the Kingdome asking "MARRY ME JOEY!!"

At the end of August during the 1998 season the Mariners traded Joey to the Cleveland Indians for David Bell.  Joey would finish the season with the Indians. In 1999, he signed as a free agent with the Toronto Blue Jays, but did not play for them, opting to retire instead.

After spending 1999 retired, Joey returned in 2000 to manage the Daytona Cubs of the Florida State League. In 2001 and 2002, he managed the Kingsport Mets in the Appalachian league. 2003 saw him manage the Savannah Sand Gnats of the South Atlantic League. (Side note: Do they not have one of the coolest names and logos or what?)

Before the 2004 season, Joey was hired by close friend Ozzie Guillen to be his third base coach with the Chicago White Sox. Joey held that position through the 2006 season. Starting in 2007, Joey became Ozzie's bench coach and currently still hold that position. At the end of the 2008 season, the Mariners were looking to replace Jim Riggleman, who had replaced John McLaren midway through the season. During the search for a new manager, the Mariners interviewed and considered hiring Joey as the manager of the Mariners. They eventually chose Don Wakamatsu instead. There is still love in Seattle for Joey when the Sox come to town.

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