When the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox meet in the World Series tonight, baseball will experience a couple firsts. Managers Dave Roberts and Alex Cora are the first-ever pair of minority managers to square off against each other in the Fall Classic.
There are currently just four minority managers in Major League Baseball, Roberts, Cora, Chicago White Sox manager Rick Renteria and Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez. Cora’s appearance also marks the first time a manager of Puerto Rican descent has managed in a World Series.
Minority players on both teams understand the significance of their two skippers meeting on the game’s biggest stage. Dodgers infielder Enrique “Kike” Hernandez and Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley spoke about about it on Monday to Yahoo! Sports.
“This game of baseball, it’s great in any language,” said Dodgers utility man Enrique Hernandez, who is Puerto Rican. “This shows you the game is moving in a great direction.”
“It’s great,” said Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. “It shows how far the game and the sport have come.”
The managers themselves also spoke to Yahoo! about the significance of the series, and what it means for the game of baseball moving forward.
“I don’t take a whole lot of time thinking about it,” Roberts said Monday. “But when I do, as in right now, it’s special. And it’s not about myself or Alex, just to see minorities get opportunities and perform and do well, I think that gives opportunities for others.”
However, those are not the only bits of history that Roberts and Cora are making. This year’s edition of the Fall Classic marks the first time that two former teammates face off as managers of their respective teams. Bringing everything full circle, Cora and Roberts were teammates from 2002-2004 with the Dodgers before Roberts was traded to the Red Sox at the 2004 trade deadline. He would go on to steal second as part of Boston’s iconic comeback to the beat the New York Yankees in the ALCS that year, before going on to win the Series with the Sox.
One more historical nugget, this matchup is the first time that the Red Sox and Dodgers, in their current cities have met in the World Series. The franchises did meet once before, all the way back in 1916 when the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn and then called the Robins. The Red Sox won that series in five games with Babe Ruth earning a win in Game 2.
First pitch in Game 1 is set for 5:09 p.m. Pacific Time.