Joey Cora: MLB hiring system unfair to Hispanic candidates

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Friday, May 20, 2016

Former major leaguer Joey Cora, who is currently a manager in Double-A and who aspires to manage in the big leagues, thinks that Major League Baseball's hiring system for managerial openings is unfair to Hispanic candidates.

During an interview Friday with ESPN's Max y Marly, Cora discussed the lack of Hispanic managers in the majors, saying that qualified Hispanic candidates simply need a chance.

The Atlanta Braves became the first team to make a managerial change this season Tuesday when they fired Fredi Gonzalez, who was the only Hispanic manager in the major leagues.

"When you have a ... Sandy Alomar, Alex Cora, Eduardo Perez, Dave Martinez, a bunch of guys -- and I'm going to include myself -- I have been in the big leagues," Joey Cora said Friday. "I coached in the big leagues, I've managed in the big leagues a few games because someone got thrown out. I've been a bench coach too.

"Some of the guys tell us we have to go through the minor league system to get experience. I don't think that is fair. All they have to do is give us a chance -- the same chance you'd give anybody else. It is not because we are Latinos. Our resumes speak for itself."

Cora, 50, is in his first season as the manager for the Altoona Curve, the Double-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He also was a manager in the New York Mets' minor league system in 2001 and 2002, and he managed the Montreal Expos' Single-A affiliate in 2003.

Cora also worked as a bench coach under manager Ozzie Guillen with the Chicago White Sox and the Miami Marlins. He was a serious candidate for the Seattle Mariners' managerial vacancy after the 2008 season, but the team ultimately hired Don Wakamatsu.

"I have had six interviews and obviously I haven't been as lucky as I would hope to be," Cora said. "It has been a frustrating effort. I thought I had done everything they asked me to do, but I haven't had the opportunity. Part of the process, part of the system."

Gonzalez, who was fired after getting off to a 9-28 start this season with Atlanta, told ESPN earlier this week that he thinks there are "a lot of qualified Latin American coaches out there" who deserve a chance to manage in the majors.

But Cora pondered Friday whether Hispanics should also strive for front-office positions rather than solely focus on managerial openings.

"Maybe us as Latinos are going at it the wrong way," Cora said. "We are looking at being a manager as the thing. But it shouldn't be that way. I think we've got to go higher than that. We have got to get into positions of power -- [general manager], director of minor league systems, assistant GMs.

"Our aim has to be higher than only being manager. If we get to be GMs, assistant GMs or directors of minor league systems, then we can make the hires. We can make the decisions. We have to be in the decision-making positions to make hires. It might be our fault that we only aim to be managers and that shouldn't be it. It should be higher than that."

Cora also discussed the "Selig Rule" -- similar to the NFL's "Rooney Rule" -- that requires all MLB teams to consider minority candidates for openings at general manager, assistant GM, manager, director of player developments or director of scouting.

"I have been interviewed and when I tell them I went to Vanderbilt University, the guys that are doing the interview are surprised," Cora said. "So that tells me it might be a checkmark interview for the Selig Rule. That's wrong. That's a process that is faulty. The guys that interview you are not prepared to interview you. They're saying, 'We got this guy [to interview], we are going to put a checkmark and we have done our job. We complied with the rule.'

"That's not right. ... Some guys say 'I'm not going to the interview because I know it's for the [Selig] Rule, for a checkmark. But we have to keep fighting because one of these days, one of the guys will be so good that the owner or the GM will say 'We have to hire this guy.'"

Cora played parts of 11 seasons in the majors, including four with the White Sox and four with the Mariners. He was a .277 career hitter and was an American League All-Star in 1997, when the Mariners reached the ALCS.