Major League Managers with 27 World Series Titles connected to Puerto Rico’s Winter League (Part XI)

Nineteen Major League managers who once played or managed in the Puerto Rico Winter League (PRWL) or barnstormed in Puerto Rico led their big league teams to a combined 27 World Series crowns,  from José Méndez, who led the 1924 Kansas City Monarchs to the first Negro World Series (aka 1924 Colored World Series) title, to Bruce Bochy, who managed the San Francisco Giants to 2010, 2012, and 2014 titles, plus the 2023 Texas Rangers to their first World Series title. Part X covered Terry Francona (2004 and 2007 Boston Red Sox) and John Farrell (2013 Boston Red Sox). Part XI transitions to three more: Alex Cora (2018 Red Sox), Dave Martínez (2019 Nationals), and Dave Roberts (2020 Dodgers). This trio once played in the PRWL. Moreover, Cora and Roberts were Caguas teammates from 1999 to 2000.

Alex Cora: University of Miami

Cora, the younger brother of Joey Cora, was born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, on October 18, 1975. He starred for the 1994-1996 Miami Hurricanes, helping them reach the College World Series (CWS) three times. He went 3-for-5 in the finals of the 1996 CWS versus Louisiana State University (LSU).

Table I: 1996 CWS All-Tournament Team

Tim LanierLSUC
Chris MollerAlabama1B
Rudy GómezMiami2B
Pat BurrellMiami3B
Alex CoraMiamiSS
Justin BowlesMiamiOF
Michael DeCelleMiamiOF
Brad WilkersonFloridaOF
Chuck HazzardFloridaDH
J.D. ArteagaMiamiRHP
Ed YarnallLSULHP
Skip BertmanLSUMGR

Source: Baseball Reference.

Minors and MLB

Cora was drafted in 1996 by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He played in their system for five seasons (1996-2000) and with the parent club from 1998-2004. He was promoted, for good, to the 2000 Dodgers after he posted a .373/.417/.500 slash line and .917 OPS for Albuquerque in 30 games. In eight total minor league seasons, including rehab assignments, 2008-2010 with Pawtucket, Buffalo, and Oklahoma City, he had a .270 BA. In his 14 MLB seasons (1998-2011) with six teams, he reflected a .243/.310/.338 slash line, and .648 OPS. Cora was a valuable utility player for the 2007 Boston Red Sox, managed by Terry Francona. Cora saw Francona play first base for the 1989-90 Ponce Lions when they played the Caguas Criollos in Caguas. He played in two games for Boston in their 2007 World Series sweep over Colorado.

PRWL and the Caribbean Series (CS)

Cora’s entire PRWL career was with Caguas. The Criollos won league titles in 2000-01 and 2010-11. Sandy Alomar Sr. managed the former team, Lino Rivera, the latter ballclub. 2000-01, Cora became the only player in league history with the most triples, homers, and runs scored. Table II summarizes his 14 years with Caguas.

Table II: Alex Cora’s PRWL Hitting Statistics with Caguas

2000-011773750#8Three #Ten #249.282.531
Totals (14)138122337770102313039.273.388

#Led league. Source:

He played in three CS: 2001, 2007, and 2011, a four-country, round-robin tournament. Caguas finished 2-4, fourth, in Culiacán, Mexico, 2001. Roberto Clemente Walker Stadium hosted the 2007 event in Carolina, Puerto Rico when Cora reinforced second-place (4-2) Carolina Giants. In 2011, he was selected to the CS All-Star Team, at Mayagüez’s Isidoro García Stadium, per Table III. Ciudad Obregón Yaquis took the 2011 crown. Águilas Cibaeñas from the Dominican Republic won it in 2001 and 2007. Cora posted a .333 BA in 18 CS games. He was Caguas’s GM when the Criollos won back-to-back 2017 and 2018 CS events in Mexico.

Table III: 2011 CS All-Star Team

Iker FrancoObregónC
Jorge Vázquez#Obregón1B
Alex CoraCaguas2B
Danny RicharToros del Este3B
Henry RodríguezAnzoáteguiSS
Ruddy YanToros del EsteLF
José ConstanzaToros del EsteCF
Karim GarcíaObregónRF
Bárbaro CañizaresObregónDH
Raúl ValdezToros del EsteStarter
Juan PadillaCaguasReliever
Eddie DíazObregónMGR

#MVP. Source: Baseball Reference.

GM: 2013 and 2017 World Baseball Classic (WBC)

Cora’s resumé includes assembling Puerto Rico’s March 2013 and March 2017 Silver Medal Teams for the WBC. The Island advanced to the finals versus the Dominican Republic in 2013 and Team USA in 2017. Catcher Yadier Molina, outfielder Angel Pagán, and hurler Nelson Figueroa (2-0, 1.80 ERA) made the 2013 WBC All-Tournament Team for Puerto Rico. In 2017, Seth Lugo and José Berríos led Puerto Rico’s pitchers. Five Puerto Rico regulars made the 2017 All-Tournament Team:

  • C Yadier Molina: .333/.333/.500 slash line; .833 OPS
  • 2B Javier Báez: .296/.345/.483; .828 OPS, four SB
  • 3B Carlos Correa: .333/.500/.750; 1.250 OPS; 10 runs, 3 HR, 9 RBIs
  • SS Francisco Lindor: .370/.419/.630; 1.049 OPS, 7 runs
  • OF Carlos Beltrán: .439/.519/.478; .997 OPS.

Cora as Houston Bench Coach and Boston Skipper

Houston defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2017 World Series with Cora as A.J. Hinch’s bench coach. Cora, as manager, led 2018 Boston to a 108-54 record and an 11-3 post-season mark. Only Ralph Houk’s 1961 New York Yankees (109-53) had a better regular season record than the 2018 Red Sox, for big league teams with rookie managers. Boston topped Dave Roberts’s Los Angeles Dodgers, four games to one, in the 2018 Fall Classic. Houk’s 1961 Yankees also won their World Series, four games to one, against Cincinnati. Table IV summarizes Cora’s managing record.

Table IV: Alex Cora’s Managing Record

Totals  440-370.543
2018ALDSvs. NYY3-1.750
2018ALCSvs. HOU4-1.800
2018World Seriesvs. Dodgers4-1.800
TotalsAL Post-Season 11-3.786

ALDS: AL Division Series. ALCS: AL Championship Series.

Source: Baseball Reference.

Cora was 1-0 in All-Star Contests, after the AL’s 4-3 win on July 9, 2019, at Cleveland’s Progressive Field. Dave Roberts managed the NL Squad. Masahiro Tanaka won it; Aroldis Chapman earned the save; and, Clayton Kershaw took the loss. Twenty AL position players and nine AL hurlers participated.

Dave Roberts: 1995 UCLA Degree and Alex Cora’s 1999-2000 Caguas Teammate

Roberts was born in Naha, Japan, on May 31, 1972, to a Japanese mother, married to a U.S. Marine. He graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts in History. (Jackie Robinson attended UCLA from 1939-to-1941, and was the first UCLA student-athlete to letter in four sports—football, basketball, baseball, and track & field.) Roberts is UCLA’s all-time leader in career steals with 109. His 45 in 1994 is a school record. He made the All-Pac 12 Conference Team twice. His home games were at Jackie Robinson Field, seating 1,820 in Pasadena. In four years (1991-1994) at UCLA, he had a .325 BA, 82 RBIs, and 177 runs.

Twenty-seven-year-old Roberts was Cora’s Caguas teammate in 1999-2000, the winter after his 1999 rookie season with Cleveland. Roberts, also in the minors from 1994-1999, stole eight bases for Caguas. He went 21-for-95, a .221 BA; scored 12 runs; and, drove in seven. The Santurce Crabbers were 1999-2000 PRWL champs, and won the 2000 CS in Santo Domingo.

Heroics in the 2004 ALCS versus New York Yankees

Roberts stole 33 bases for the 2004 LA Dodgers in 68 games, with just one caught stealing. Boston acquired him on July 31, 2004 for Henri Stanley. He stole five bases with Boston with two caught steals in 45 games. His most crucial SB came in Game Four of the 2004 ALCS, versus the New York Yankees, on October 17. In the home ninth, Roberts pinch-ran for Kevin Millar and scored the tying run on Bill Mueller’s two-out single off Mariano Rivera. Boston won that contest, 6-4, in 12 innings. They won the next three games to win the ALCS, four to three. Roberts played in two of those games, scoring twice. He did not play in the 2004 World Series sweep over St. Louis. Winning 2004 World Series share for Roberts, his teammates, coaches, and manager Terry Francona was $223,619.79.

Roberts’s big-league statistics include 243 SB and 58 CS in 10 seasons. He was successful 80.7 percent of the time on his SB attempts. His career slash line was .266/.342/.366, with a .708 OPS. Roberts had a .316 wOBA (Weighted On-Base Average), average for MLB players of his generation. He connected 721 hits in 2,707 AB, including 95 doubles, 53 triples, 23 homers, plus 213 RBIs. He scored 437 runs. Detroit chose him with the 781st overall pick in the 1994 draft—18th in Round 28. His minor-league statistics reflected a .294/.380/.405 slash line, and .785 OPS. Those 14 seasons he comprised 822 games, 10 fewer than his 832 big-league games. Roberts stole 281 bases and was caught 81 times, for a 77.6 percent success rate. He retired as an active player at age 36.

Eight Years Managing Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers won seven NL West crowns, three NL pennants, and one World Series between 2016 and 2023. They defeated Tampa Bay, four games to two, in 2020, after losing the Fall Classic in 2017 to Houston, and in 2018, to Boston. The latter featured Roberts managing against Alex Cora. Roberts won 63 percent of all regular season games managed through 2023, per Table V. He was 0-3 managing the NL Team in the 2018, 2019, and 2021 AL-NL All-Star Games.

Table V: Dave Roberts’s NL Managing Record

2015San DiegoNational0-1.000
2016Los AngelesNational91-71.562
2017Los AngelesNational104-58.642
2018Los AngelesNational92-71.564
2019Los AngelesNational106-56.654
2020Los AngelesNational43-17.717
2021Los AngelesNational106-56.654
2022Los AngelesNational111-51.685
2023Los AngelesNational100-62.617
Totals  753-443.630
2016NLDSvs. WAS3-2.600
2016NLCSvs. CHC2-4.333
2017NLDSvs. ARI3-01.000
2017NLCSvs. CHC4-1.800
2017World Seriesvs. HOU3-4.429
2018NLDSvs. ATL3-1.750
2018NLCSvs. MLW4-3.571
2018World Seriesvs. BOS1-4.200
2019NLDSvs. WAS2-3.400
2020NL Wild Cardvs. MLW2-01.000
2020NLDSvs. SD3-01.000
2020NLCSvs. ATL4-3.571
2020World Seriesvs. TBR4-2.667
2021NL Wild Cardvs. SLC1-01.000
2021NLDSvs. SFG3-2.600
2021NLCSvs. ATL2-4.333
2022NLDSvs. SD1-3.250
2023NLDSvs. ARI0-3.000
 NL Post-Season 45-39.536
Source: Baseball Reference.  

Dave Martínez: 1986-87 San Juan Metros to World Series Ring with 2019 Washington Nationals   Dave Martínez was born in New York City on September 26, 1959, of Puerto Rican descent, and played in the PRWL as a native. Martínez persevered in the majors for 16 seasons, starting with the 1986 Cubs, and ending with 2001 Atlanta. He benefitted from a stellar 1986-87 winter season with the San Juan Metros, with a .331 BA (57-for-172), after a sub-par .139 BA (15-for-108) with the 1986 Cubs. The Cubs sent Rafael Palmeiro to San Juan, with Martínez. The latter’s big-league slash line was: .276/.341/.389. His OPS was .730. Martínez cracked 91 homers and drove in 580 runs.   The author interviewed Martínez in March 1992, before his only season with the Cincinnati Reds. «The PRWL was beneficial to my big-league career,» recalled Martínez. “Mako Oliveras was my Metros manager. I worked to improve my hitting. Puerto Rico was better than Triple-A and just below Major League caliber.»

Fast forward to 2019, Martínez’s second season managing the Washington Nationals, formerly 1969-2004 Montreal Expos. (Montreal played 22 of its 2003 and 2004 home games at Hiram Bithorn Stadium, Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, same PRWL home stadium of the 1986-87 San Juan Metros.) Washington (93-69) defeated Milwaukee in a tie-breaker to advance to the NLDS. The Nationals, three games to two, upset the Dodgers to advance to the NLCS. The author attended Game Four, at Nationals Park, on October 7, 2019. Max Scherzer won this game, 6-1, with Julio Urías absorbing the loss. Ryan Zimmerman crushed a three-run homer in the fifth. Two nights later, Washington topped Los Angeles, 7-3, on Howie Kendrick’s 10th-inning grand slam, with Adam Eaton, Anthony Rendón, and Juan Soto on base.

The Nationals swept St. Louis in the NLCS before copping the 2019 Fall Classic in seven games over Houston. It was Washington’s first World Series Crown since Homestead Grays captured the final Negro League World Series in 1948, thanks to Luke Easter, Wilmer Fields, Luis «Canena» Márquez, etc. The Grays also won the 1943 and 1944 Negro League World Series. Washington’s only other World Series title came in 1924 when Walter Johnson, in relief, defeated the New York Giants, 4-3, in Game Seven. Stephen Strasburg (2-0, 2.51 ERA, 1.047 WHIP) was 2019 World Series MVP. Astros and Nationals pitching staffs had a 4.29 ERA. Top Nationals hitters were Rendón (two homers, eight RBIs) and Eaton (two homers, six RBIs). Houston’s Yordan Álvarez posted a .412/.524/.588 slash line, and 1.112 OPS.

With gratitude to Dave Martínez. Jorge Colón Delgado did the editing.

Deja un comentario

Tu dirección de correo electrónico no será publicada. Los campos obligatorios están marcados con *

error: Este contenido está protegido
Scroll al inicio