Former Seattle Mariners second baseman Joey Cora, who was a key member of the team during a transformative time in franchise history, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day of the Mariners 2015 season. The Mariners meet the Los Angeles Angels at Safeco Field on Monday, April 6. First pitch is at 1:10pm. The pregame ceremony starts at 12:30pm.
Cora, who played for the Mariners from 1995-1998, was a fan favorite who was known for his hustle and enthusiasm, diving for grounders and beating out bunts. He endeared himself to baseball fans across the nation with his emotional display after the Mariners heartbreaking loss to the Cleveland Indians in the 1995 American League Championship Series.
Cora enjoyed his most productive years at the plate while in a Mariners uniform when he joined the All-Star lineup that included Edgar Martinez, Ken Griffey Jr., Jay Buhner and Alex Rodriguez. Cora's best season was 1997, when he hit a career high .300. Cora had a scorching month of May, hitting .449 with a 24-game hitting streak, an American League record for a switch-hitter. He was named A.L. Player of the Week for the week of May 25, and was one of five Mariners selected for the American League All-Star team.
In August of 1997, teammate Randy Johnson called Cora "our sparkplug," and a player who "makes things happen."
In addition to being a scrappy player, Cora was known for his work ethic as he was often the first player to arrive at the ballpark and the last to leave after a game, a habit he says he picked up from Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, who was his teammate at the San Diego Padres.
During Cora's 11-year Major League playing career, in addition to the Mariners and Padres (1987, 1989-1990), he played for the Chicago White Sox (1991-1994) and Cleveland Indians (1999). He was also on the coaching staffs of the White Sox (2004-2011), where he won a World Series Championship ring, and Miami Marlins (2012).
Off the field, Cora was active in the community and established the Joey Cora Children's Foundation. He hosted an annual night of Latin-themed entertainment that drew stars from baseball and music. The Joey Cora Night of Stars raised money for a treatment center for HIV-positive kids in his home town of Caguas, Puerto Rico, as well as for children's health and education programs in Washington.
Opening Day Tickets
Opening Day is virtually sold out with only scattered single tickets remaining. However, fans can still get Opening Day tickets with the purchase of Mariners season tickets including full season and 20-Game Plans and 10-Game Flex Packs. Call 206-346-4001 to speak to a season ticket sales representative or log onto mariners.com/2015.
Opening Day King's Court
There is still time to register for a special drawing for the chance to buy up to four tickets in the King's Court on Opening Day. Prices in the special seating section are $55 each and include a King's Court T-shirt and K Cloth. Register at mariners.com/felix until midnight Thursday. Winners will be notified by email by Monday, March 30.