ATLANTA — Pat Corrales, who managed the Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians and Philadelphia Phillies before a long stint on the Atlanta Braves coaching staff under Hall of Fame skipper Bobby Cox, has died at the age of 82.
The Los Angeles Dodgers said Corrales died of natural causes Sunday night at his home in the north Georgia mountains. He had worked in the team's front office since 2012, serving as a special assistant to the general manager in his final role.
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 RBIs over nine seasons.
He did get a chance to work behind future Hall of Famer Johnny Bench with the Cincinnati Reds and made his only postseason appearance as a player in the 1970 World Series, grounding to Brooks Robinson for the final out in Baltimore's five-game victory.
“What a man, what a mentor,” Bench wrote on his Instagram account after meeting up with Corrales a year ago.
Corrales was far more notable for his post-playing career, which included being MLB’s first manager of Mexican-American descent when he took over the Rangers for the final game of 1978 season.
Corrales was fired by the Phillies in 1983, even though the team was tied for first place in the NL East. General manager Paul Owens moved to the dugout and guided the Phillies to the World Series, where they lost to the Baltimore Orioles in five games.
“Over the course of a baseball career that spanned more than six decades as a player, coach, manager and executive, Pat became a well-respected baseball lifer,” the Phillies said in a statement posted to X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter. “Out heartfelt condolences go out to Pat's family and all those who were fortunate to know him.”
Corrales' managed the Rangers for two full seasons after his one-game interim stint, finishing with a record of 160-164 in Arlington.
He was hired as the Phillies manager in 1982, going 89-73 in his only full season with the team. Corrales was let go with Philadelphia at 43-42 the following year, but he wasn't out of work for long.
Finishing out the season as Cleveland's manager, he would guide the AL team then known as the Indians over five seasons. After a 102-loss campaign in 1985, Cleveland bounced back to an 84-78 mark the following year.
But Corrales was fired in 1987 with the Indians mired at 31-56. His overall mark in Cleveland was 280-355.
Corrales followed with a coaching stint in Atlanta, working on Cox's staff from 1990-2006. That tenure coincided with the Braves' rise to MLB powerhouse, which included a record 14 straight division titles and a World Series championship in 1995.
“I know he and Bobby were so close," Braves manager Brian Snitker said before a game at Colorado. "During that run, he was the guy, doing a lot of the heavy lifting. He wasn’t afraid to get in somebody’s rear end if they needed it. He was a baseball guy through and through.”
Corrales finished his career in the dugout as a coach with the Washington Nationals before taking the front-office job with the Dodgers. He also had coaching tenures with Texas and the New York Yankees.
Corrales was survived by his wife of 40 years, Donna Myers Corrales of Atlanta; daughters Rena Hammerness and Patricia Collins; and son Jason Corrales. Two other children, son Patrick Corrales and daughter Michele Pollitt, had died.
"I was fortunate to have worked with Pat for more than 30 years at three franchises, and he was instrumental in turning all three into championship organizations,” said Stan Kasten, the Dodgers president and CEO who formerly worked in Washington and Atlanta.
“He loved mentoring young players and the number of players he influenced is too long to count," Kasten said in a statement. "Pat truly loved the game of baseball, and we will miss him.”
A funeral service will be held Sept. 5 in Atlanta, with burial in Marble Hill, Georgia.