Nov 2, 2016

Former Mets Infielder Turned ESPN Analyst: Alex Cora (2009-2010)

Jose Alexander Cora was born on October 18, 1975 in Caguas, Puerto Rico. After high school in Puerto Rico he attended the University of Miami where he was named to the College World Series all-tournament team in both 1995 and 1996.

Alex Cora is a member of the Miami Hurricanes Sports Hall of Fame (2006 inductee).

He was then selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the third round of the 1996 draft being rated by Baseball America as the best collegiate defensive player.

He made brief appearances with the Dodgers in 1998 & 1999 before becoming the team’s regular short stop taking over the position from Mark Grudzielanek. Cora held the position from 2000 through the 2002 season. He also began to play more at second base & moved over to that position from 2003-2004. After never hitting better than .238 in a season he had a career year at the plate in 2001 batting .291 with a .371 on base %.

In 2004 he had a 18 pitch at bat against Matt Clemet of the Chicago Cubs, fouling off 14 straight pitches. It is the 3rd longest at bat on record since records were kept of pitch counts in the mid eighties. Cora made his first post season batting .133 in the series loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

In 2005 he signed with the Cleveland Indians but was traded in July to the Boston Red Sox for Ramon Vazquez. He spent the next four seasons as a reserve infielder with the Red Sox, getting to three more post seasons including wining the 2007 World Series against the Colorado Rockies.

In November 2008 he was signed by the New York Mets, then was granted free agency & resigned again all in the same month. He saw action in 82 games with the Mets taking over at short stop when Jose Reyes went down with injury. Cora began the year batting well enough to stay at .300 into early June. His average fell as the season went, on as he finished off batting.251 with one HR 11 doubles & 18 RBIs.

His season was cut short after he had driven in six runs in ten games in August, he went down with injury for the rest of the year. In 56 games filling in for Reyes at short he posted a .976 fielding % turning 36 double plays. He also also played 19 games at second.

In 2010 he returned to batting leadoff on Opening Day, while playing at short stop & driving in a run as Jose Reyes was still not ready to play. This time he struggled out of the gate not batting over .200 until mid May. On May 23rd he singled off CC Sabathia in the subway series, driving in the first two runs of the Mets & Johan Santana's 6-4 win.

On July 2nd he had his biggest run production day in his short Mets career, as he hit a bases clearing triple against the Washington Nationals leading to a 5-3 Mets win. three days later he doubled & drove in two more runs in a 8-6 Mets loss to the Cincinnati Reds. By August 7th he was only batting .207 & the Mets released him. Cora finished up his 2010 Mets season with 62 games played, six doubles, three triples, 20 RBIs & four stolen bases.

He signed with the Texas Rangers playing in just four games but was released in early September. For 2011 he was signed by the Washington Nationals where hit .224 in 91 games played as a utility infielder. He signed minor league deals with St. Luis Cardinals & Detroit Tigers but never cracked their big league squads.

In his 14 year career Alex Cora batted .243 with 828 hits 35 HRs 140 doubles 39 triples & a .310 on base %.

Family: Alex Cora is the younger brother of Joey Cora who played 11 seasons as a reserve infielder with the Chicago White Sox (1991-1994) Seattle Mariners (1994-1998) & San Diego Padres (1987-1990).

Joey Cora made the 1997 All Star team, played in four post seasons getting as far as the ALCS twice (1995 & 1998). After his playing days he has been a coach under Ozzie Guillen with the White Sox & Miami Marlins.

Retirement: After his playing days he became an analyst for ESPN working in their Baseball Tonight shows as well as ESPN Deportes. He has been in those positions since 2013.

Family: Alex  his wife Nilda have two children.

No comments: