June 22, 2024
Houston Astros introduce Joe Espada as manager to succeed Dusty Baker

Joe Espada was introduced as the new manager of the Houston Astros on Monday to replace Dusty Baker, who retired after the 2023 Major League Baseball (MLB) season.

“I’m humbled by this,” Espada said. “This is a dream come true. I just can’t express my feelings about how happy I am to get to stay here and manage this team.”

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Espada had been the Astros’ bench coach since 2018, but he was away last year for a while to take care of his father who was dealing with a heart issue.

“I almost lost him while I was there,” Espada said. “And I asked God that day just to let him stay with me for a while longer because I wanted to share some good news in the future. I Facetimed and he started clapping. His reaction was priceless.”

Espada, 48, was born in Puerto Rico. He became the second Latino manager of the Astros in franchise history after Cuban-born Preston Gomez from 1974-75.

Joe Espada, bench coach of the Houston Astros, looks on during practice at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, June 17, 2023. /CFP

“I really hoped that I was going to get a chance to stay home and manage this team,” he said. “I love this city. I love this team. I love this community and I know I can protect and continue success and continue winning in this city.”

As the 2022 World Series champions, the Astros finished the 2023 regular season with a 90-72 record and led the American League (AL) West. They advanced to the AL Championship Series, but lost to the Texas Rangers 4-3.

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“We wanted to continue the success here in Houston. … We came up with the right man for the job. Our fans deserve it,” the Astros’ general manager Dana Brown said. “I was looking for someone with leadership skills, someone who could communicate, someone who would collaborate and ultimately someone who was humble.”

“I’ve had a chance to talk to Joe Espada almost the whole year and we’ve had great conversations, we hit it off early and I think, without a question, Joe is a good fit for this job,” he added.

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