Pat Corrales, who managed the Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians and Philadelphia Phillies before a long stint on the Atlanta Braves coaching staff under the Hall of Fame skipper Bobby Cox, died on Sunday at his home in the north Georgia mountains. The first Major League manager of Mexican descent, he was 82.
The Los Angeles Dodgers confirmed his death. He had worked in the Dodgers’ front office since 2012, most recently as a special assistant to the general manager.
A native of Los Angeles, Corrales was a backup catcher with four teams over a largely nondescript career in the majors, compiling a .216 average with four homers and 54 runs batted in over nine seasons. He made his only postseason appearance as a player with the Cincinnati Reds in the 1970 World Series, grounding out to Brooks Robinson for the final out in the Baltimore Orioles’ five-game victory.
Corrales was far more notable for his post-playing career. He became the first big-league manager of Mexican descent when, as a coach with the Rangers, he took over the team for the final game of the 1978 season.
He went on to manage the Rangers for two full seasons, finishing with a record of 160-164. He was hired as the Phillies’ manager in 1982, going 89-73 in his only full season with the team. He was fired in the middle of the following season, when the team was in first place in the National League East but had a disappointing record of 43-42.
The Phillies’ general manager, Paul Owens, moved to the dugout to replace him and guided the team to the World Series, where they lost to Baltimore in five games.
Corrales was not out of work for long. He was quickly hired by Cleveland, finishing out the 1983 season as manager and continuing in that post over five seasons. After a 102-loss campaign in 1985, Cleveland bounced back to an 84-78 mark the next year. But he was fired in 1987 with the team mired at 31-56. His overall mark in Cleveland was 280-355.
Corrales followed with a long coaching stint in Atlanta, working on Cox’s staff from 1990 to 2006. That tenure coincided with the Braves’ emergence as a Major League powerhouse, which included a record 14 straight division titles and a World Series championship in 1995.
“During that run, he was the guy, doing a lot of the heavy lifting,” Braves Manager Brian Snitker said this week before a game at Colorado. “He was a baseball guy through and through.”
Corrales finished his career in the dugout as a coach with the Washington Nationals. He was also a coach with the Yankees in 1989.
He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Donna Myers Corrales; two daughters, Rena Hammerness and Patricia Collins; and a son, Jason. Another son, Patrick, and another daughter, Michele Pollitt, died before him.