The Giants, who were officially eliminated from the MLB playoffs Tuesday, opened Friday by firing manager Gabe Kapler, who had led the team since 2020. Bench coach Kai Correa was named the team's interim manager for their final home series against the NL West champion Dodgers.
With Dodgers manager Dave Roberts leading the other dugout, Friday's Dodgers-Giants game became the first time in MLB history that two managers of Asian descent faced off. None of the NFL, NBA or NHL has seen such a game.
Dodger Manager Dave Roberts and Giants’ interim skipper Kai Correa are the first managers/coaches of Asian descent to face each other in the Big 4 professional sports (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL). pic.twitter.com/IVJVMtPLWJ
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) September 30, 2023
Roberts, who is also one of two Black MLB managers, alongside the Houston Astros' Dusty Baker, is the first manager of Asian descent to win the World Series. His mother is Japanese, and he was born in Okinawa, Japan, where his father, a U.S. marine, was stationed.
Correa served as bench coach for Kapler's entire tenure in San Francisco, which dates to the 2020 season. He is reportedly of Japanese, Portugese and Hawaiian descent.
Regardless of the history made, the 35-year-old Correa's story is an interesting one. He never played in MLB or the minor leagues, instead going straight into coaching after graduating from the University of Puget Sound, where he played Division III ball. He filled a number of roles at his alma mater before joining the University of Northern Colorado in 2014, then broke into MLB in 2017 as a defensive coach with the Cleveland Guardians.
Two years later, Correa was joining the Giants as Kapler's top assistant. He earned strong reviews when the team was winning 107 games in 2021, a season that saw the team win the NL West and Kapler win NL Manager of the Year, but the team has struggled to replicate that success in the two years since. Whether Correa remains in San Francisco will be up to both him and whoever replaces Kapler, but he at least added one cool factoid to his résumé before the season was over.