For years, I’ve had a strong dislike for former Major Leaguer Joey Cora.
Cora was a 1st round pick of the Padres in 1985, made his Major League debut in 1987, and played in San Diego until he was traded to the White Sox in March 1991. I went to a lot of Padres games at Jack Murphy Stadium in the late-80’s and early-90’s, most of those against the Giants. I don’t remember which season, but one of those games against the Giants was a 4-0 victory by the Padres, all four runs coming in the first inning on a Grand Slam. All of these years, I’ve given Joey Cora credit for that home run.
Yesterday, I attended my first Giants/Padres game of the season. The Giants were shut out–for the third time in their last five games–and the Padres won 2-0. Matt Cain gave up both runs in the 3rd inning, the first run coming off of a solo homer by Alexi Amarista, his second of the season.
12 hours after the game ended, I was saying “Alexi Amarista is my new Joey Cora.” Heck, that was supposed to be the title of this post. And then I looked up Joey Cora’s stats. Want to know how many homers Joey Cora hit in 140 games with San Diego? None. Not a single home run. Cora came up in 1987 and didn’t hit his first career home run until 1993 while playing for the White Sox. Since this was a good four years before Inter-League play would start, there’s no way he hit a Grand Slam to beat the Giants at Jack Murphy Stadium while wearing the brown & orange pinstriped uniforms of the 1987-1990 Padres. In 11 seasons, Cora hit a total of 30 homers, with a career high of 11 in 1997 while playing with the Mariners (he hit 3 in ’95, 6 in ’96 and ’98–his final season).
So who hit that 1st inning Grand Slam to beat the Giants 4-0? I have no idea, but to Joey Cora: I apologize. I’ve called you a few names over the past (almost) 30 years, and you did not earn those names. For that, I am sorry. Guess I should figure out who I really need to direct my unreasonable anger towards.
Update: My friend Jose actually went on to Baseball Reference and found the box score for a game on May 23, 1994. In the first inning of that game, Padres short stop Luis Lopez hit a home run. A Grand Slam, in fact. The Padres would go on to win that game by a score of 4-0. Boy, was I way off. Congratulations, Luis Lopez. You are now Joey Cora.