Joey Cora to throw out Ceremonial First Pitch on Opening Day
Joey Cora, the scrappy second baseman who was a fan favorite during his years with the Mariners, has been tabbed to throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day April 6.
Cora, who was affectionately known as Little Joey Cora due to his small stature, played for the Mariners from 1995-1998. During that time, he endeared himself to fans with his hustle and enthusiasm and his tearful reaction to the Mariners heartbreaking loss to the Cleveland Indians in the 1995 American League Championship Series.
Cora had an 11-year career as a Major League player with the Padres (1987, 1989-1990), Mariners, White Sox (1991-1994) and Indians (1999). He was also a member of the coaching staffs of the White Sox (2004-2011), where he won a World Series championship ring in 2005, and with the Miami Marlins (2012).
His time in Seattle was Cora’s most productive at the plate. His best year was 1997 when he hit a career high .300, and was named an alternate to the American League All-Star team. His 24-game hitting streak that year was a Major League record for a switch hitter, and stood as a Mariners record until it was broken by Ichiro Suzuki. Teammate Randy Johnson told the Seattle P-I in 1997 that Joey was “the ideal leadoff hitter.” He also described him as “our sparkplug” who “makes things happen.”
Joey was also active in the community. He established the Joey Cora Children’s Foundation and hosted an annual event called Joey Cora Night of Stars where fans were entertained by famous Latin musicians and rubbed shoulders with baseball players. The events raised money for a treatment center for HIV-positive kids in his hometown of Caguas, Puerto Rico, and for children’s health and education programs here in Washington.
Opening Day pregame ceremonies will start around 12:30pm. Game time is 1:10 pm against the Los Angeles Angels.