Former Atlanta Braves Coach Pat Corrales Passes At 82

For 17 years, Pat Corrales served on the Atlanta Braves coaching staff, first under Russ Nixon, then alongside his lifelong friend and Hall of Fame skipper Bobby Cox.

Former Major League Manager and Atlanta Braves coach Pat Corrales died Sunday at 82.
Former Major League Manager and Atlanta Braves coach Pat Corrales died Sunday at 82. / Jose L Marin/GettyImages

Monday afternoon, we learned Pat Corrales passed away Sunday night at his Georgia home at 82 years old.

Patrick “Ike” Corrales was born in Los Angeles, California, on June 26, 1941, and attended Fresno High School. He was a two-sport star at Fresno High; a 6-foot-tall, 84-pound pulling guard and linebacker on the football team, and catcher on the baseball team.

Fresno’s rival was Selma High School, the alma mater of one Robert Joe Cox. Cox and Corrales played each other often and began a friendship that lasted a lifetime.

Corrales signed with the Phillies in 1958 and made his Major League debut in 1964. He had a nine-year career as a backup catcher from 1964 through 1973 and spent two years in the minors before retiring.

From Player to Coach to Manger

Billy Hunter hired him as his third base coach for the Texas Rangers in 1976 and quickly promoted him to bench coach. Two years later, the Rangers fired Hunter on the last day of the season and made Corrales the first Mexican-American manager in the major leagues.

Another two years passed before the Rangers fired Corrales, but once again, he wasn't unemployed for long. The Phillies hired Corrales in 1982 to replace Dallas Green, and in 1983, Corrales recorded another first, but not a good one; he became the first and only manager fired while his team was leading the division.

The Fight Was Short

Two weeks after leaving Philadelphia, Corrales joined the Indians, and over the next four seasons, he helped turn the team around, leading them to a winning season in 1986, their first since 1981.

According to his SABR biography, Corrales was also involved in one of the strangest ejections.
Dave Stewart gave up a homer and wasn’t happy, so he did what pitchers did at that time, sent a 90+mph heater under Julio Franco’s chin. Corrales wanted Stewart ejected, the ump refused, and then, as they say, the fight started.

Corrales was ejected for starting the fight but ultimately got what he wanted when Stewart was ejected for knocking Corrales down.

The 1987 season didn’t go as well, and the Indians fired him in July; Cleveland didn’t have another winning season until 1995, and we know what happened then.

Atlanta Braves Streak with Cox and Corrales

After a year with the Mudhens and another with the Yankees, Corrales got a call from Cox offering him a job as first base coach for the Atlanta Braves, Corrales accepted and remained the first base coach until Cox promoted him to bench coach in 1999.

Booby leaned on his old friend for advice and to manage the team when he was away, ejected from a game, or suspended because he’d been ejected in an earlier game.

Most in Atlanta expected Corrales to take over when Bobby retired, but in 2007, he joined the Nationals as Manny Acta’s bench coach, a job he was fired from twice, then hired back by new managers. In 2012, Ned Colletti hired Corrales as special assistant to the general manager for the Dodgers, a position he held at the time of his death.

That’s a Wrap

Pat Corrales was as close to Bobby Cox as anyone, and it’s easy to understand why; they were alike but different. I don’t think Corrales wanted to replace Cox; it just wouldn’t have worked.

He was a good manager before coming to Atlanta, and every time a team had a managerial vacancy, Corrales' name was mentioned as a strong candidate, but he was never selected; maybe he wanted it that way.

Pat Corrales was the first Mexican-American manager in Major League Baseball and the first manager to lose his job while his team was in first place. Remember those for your next trivia contest.

Atlanta Braves fans should remember that for 17 years, Corrales and Leo Mazzone were Bobby’s closest advisors. They helped him guide the team through the longest streak of consecutive postseason appearances by a team in any professional sport.

We at The House That Hank Built recognize him for his unflagging support of the team and the way he helped guide them to greatness. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Corrales family.

Once a Brave, Always a Brave.