Throwback Thursday: The little fella at second for the Mariners, Joey Cora
For Throwback Thursday this week, I wanted to take some time to talk about the Mariners little second baseman of the 1990s. Joey Cora was way up there for me when I was a kid as one of my favorite players. I don’t know why, but he was. He was the little scrappy guy on the Mariners who stood out amongst a multitude of all-time great Mariners.
6’10” Randy, the Bone, The Kid, A-Rod, Edgar… and lil Joey Cora.
Joey Cora was fun for me as a kid, and one of my favorite Mariners
As I start to look back, I can’t help but think that I might not be a fan of Joey Cora if he were playing now. Well, let me restate that. I would like him, but I wouldn’t have been a diehard Cora guy. It’s hard as a little kid to know much about defensive stats, especially in the mid-90s when they weren’t readily available or well understood by many.
It’s odd, for how often I go back and look at Mariners stats, and random baseball players in general, Joey Cora just isn’t one that I had looked at since he left the Mariners. Maybe it’s just because he slipped through the cracks (not a short pun), or maybe it’s because when he was traded to the Cleveland team, he announced in his press conference that he was glad he was going to a place that knew how to win.
Or, something along those lines. I don’t remember. I was 10, and I remember he was rude in his presser. It got us David Bell though, and Cora only had 97 more PA in his career. Bell actually provided 5.9 WAR in his four years in Seattle, so it was a good trade for the Mariners.
I always thought that Cora was a good defender when I was a kid. He seemed to make nice plays, diving around, and off the top of my head I don’t remember tons of errors. Looking back at it though, he actually had a negative dWAR in every season of his career other than that final 1998 season, when he had a 0.3, and his rookie year in San Diego back in 1987. Overall, he was a -2.0 in four years with the Mariners.
He was pretty good on offense though. His oWAR was 1.9, 1.6, 3.8, 2.7 in his four years in Seattle on offense, good for a total of 6.4 WAR overall. It’s that 1997 season that sticks out though. He had a great year at the plate. A slash line of .300/.359/.441, with 40 doubles, 105 Runs, and career highs in both home runs with 11 and RBI with 54. It was also his lone all-star season.
Joey Cora seemed to make the Mariners more fun. Whether or not he was better in my mind than he actually was in truth is a likely case. I choose to leave it that way.