Prior to Major League Baseball temporarily suspending operations due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Houston Astros were often in the headlines due to fallout from their sign-stealing scandal.
Spearheaded by Mike Fiers’ claim that Houston electronically stole signs at Minute Maid Park in 2017, MLB conducted a three-month-long investigation into the organization before levying significant punishments to those most prominently involved.
Former Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch were each dealt one-year suspensions, only to eventually be dismissed by owner Jim Crane.
Their firings had a ripple effect on the rest of the league, as the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets went on to part ways with managers Alex Cora and Carlos Beltran, respectively.
Cora served as the Astros bench coach during the 2017 season while Beltran was in the midst of wrapping up a 20-year playing career. Both were believed to be the main architects behind the sign-stealing scheme.
However, Cora vehemently denied that he was solely responsible for the sign-stealing scandal and believes every member of the 2017 Astros should be equally blamed, via ESPN’s Marly Rivera:
“There has been a narrative out there of what happened. Ever since mid-November until the commissioner announced the results of the Red Sox investigation, I have read many things that are true and many others that are not,” he said. “Out of this whole process, if there is one thing that I completely reject and disagree with is people within the Astros’ organization singling me out, particularly [former general manager] Jeff Luhnow, as if I were the sole mastermind. The commissioner’s report sort of explained, in its own way, what happened. But the [Astros players] have spoken up and refuted any allegations that I was solely responsible.”
He added: “If there is one thing I am absolutely sure of, it is that it was not a two-man show. We all did it. And let me be very clear that I am not denying my responsibility, because we were all responsible.”
Though Cora denied being the brains behind the Astros’ sign-stealing scheme, it doesn’t help his image that Luhnow and a few Astros players stated otherwise.
Cora departed the organization after the 2017 season to accept the managerial position with the Red Sox. He led them to a World Series title over the Los Angeles Dodgers in his first year at the helm, only to be let go one year later.
The 2018 Red Sox were also investigated by MLB over the offseason for similar sign-stealing scandal accusations, though Cora had no part in that according to the report.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in our shows, and more!