CAGUAS, Puerto Rico (WHDH) – Long before he was leading the Sox to greatness on the field, he was learning to play on one in Caguas, Puerto Rico. And before he was posing for pictures with people like Tom Brady, he was posing for pictures as a kid with teammates and dreaming big.
“Breakfast, lunch, and dinner was baseball for him,” said Kiko Cordero, Alex Cora’s childhood coach “He was the first player here and the last guy who left the ballpark.”
The men who coached the future coach told 7News they knew he was destined to do great things.
“He was a leader, the piece that put everything together,” said Olivero Rivera, another one of Cora’s coaches. “He would be a player, but telling the other players if we get the ball you throw the ball there if we get this do that.”
Rivera and Cordero say it was the person Cora was off the field that led him to where he is today.
“If you met him, you would be surprised he is a better person more than anything else,” Cordero said. “I think that is the greatness, the greatest thing that he has.”
Cora spent most of his childhood on a baseball field in Caguas, and while his coaches are able to celebrate with him there in Caguas, they told 7News it was someone who sat in that seat more than 30 years ago who would have been the proudest.
Cora’s father died when his son was just 13 years old.
As Cora celebrated in Caguas last weekend, he thanked the man who helped him fall in love with baseball.
Jose Manuel Cora was a major baseball figure in Puerto Rico. He started the Little League chapter in Caguas and was a mentor to many.
“He did everything, everything in baseball, and he did it great, and that’s why no coincidence Joey and Alex has the family basis already had,” said
Joey is Cora’s older brother and another baseball standout who played with four Major League Baseball teams and now coaches third base for the Pirates. With their father gone, Joye took on a new role, guiding Alex.
“He changed his role from older brother to father and he did a really great job,” Cordero said.
And keeping him on the road that led to Fenway and a World Series championship.
There were bumps on that road, like when Alex, a freshman for the University of Miami on scholarship was so homesick he left school and flew home. When Joey found out, he did something that may have changed Boston sports history.
“Joey called home and Alex picked up the phone and got really mad and said a lot of words that we cannot say right here and said (get) back to the airport,” Cordero said.
Now, the first Puerto Rican manager to win the World Series is sharing that success with his hometown and his boyhood coaches say there is still more to come.
“This is just the beginning,” said Cordero.
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