Joey Cora did not have to challenge himself so much as a player; his natural talent and extraordinary work ethic took care of that. His real challenge struggle to succeed came as a Puerto Rican arriving at Vanderbilt University, speaking very little English, and having to adapt to a totally different culture. On all accounts, succeeding is precisely what he did. Cora played baseball for Vanderbilt from 1983 to 1985, where he was First Team All-SEC his final two seasons. Remarkably those same years, the man who had to take fifteen extra hours of special English courses his freshman year was also named First Team Academic All-SEC. Cora was a career .358 hitter at Vanderbilt and ranked eighth all-time. After Vanderbilt, he began an impressive major league career. Cora played for the San Diego Padres starting in 1987 before being traded to the Chicago White Sox. In 1995 he was moved to his present team, the Seattle Mariners. Cora was selected to play in the 1997 all-star Game, the same year he strung together a franchise-record, 24-game hitting streak, which also broke the record for the longest hitting streak by an American League switch-hitter, previously set by Eddie Murray and Roberto Alomar. A member of two Mariners American League West Championship teams and the 1993 Chicago White Sox American League West Champions, Joey Cora is living proof that even in this day and age, the American Dream can still become a reality.