Alex Cora will be introduced formally as the 47th manager in Boston Red Sox history after the World Series. Cora’s a little tied up until then, trying to finish off his stint as Astros bench coach by helping the franchise secure its first World Series championship.

Whether the Astros win over lose, Cora won’t have much time to savor the 2017 postseason. He’ll have to get right to work in his new job, becoming a first-time manager and taking over a team that won two straight American League East titles but didn’t perform well enough in October to save John Farrell’s job.

We always knew Cora would some day be a manager. In his three-and-a-half seasons as an infielder for the Red Sox, he was always thinking about the game, talking about strategy and trying to do his part as a role player to help his team maximize its potential. He did just that in 2007, helping the Sox win their second championship in four seasons.

A Red Sox manager must have many qualities. He’ll have to be patient with his young players. He’ll have to be consistent with his in-game strategies. And he’ll have to be persistent if he hopes to achieve his goal leading the Sox back to the Series.

He showed all of those traits in a legendary at bat while with the Dodgers in 2004.

Cora was never much of a power hitter, with just 35 home runs in his 14 major league seasons. So when he stepped up to the plate to face Matt Clement in the seventh inning of a game in 2004, there was no reason for the fans at Dodger Stadium to expect anything memorable.

Clement had thrown 86 pitches in the game for the Cubs, and had retired Cora twice on fly balls. He quickly fell behind Cora 2-1. Then Cora started to grind out one of the greatest at bats the game has ever seen. He fouled of 14 consecutive pitches as the count stayed at 2-2. At one point during the showdown the scoreboard operator began to keep track of the pitch count, and the crowd came to its feet.

“You never see so much excitement,” said Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully. “And nothing has happened. That’s really what’s so funny about it.”

Then, on the 18th pitch of the at bat, Cora hit a two-run homer. The L.A. crowd roared and Cora’s teammates jumped like they had just won a championship. It still stands as the third-longest at bat since pitch counts started being documented in baseball. And an epic reminder that Cora never backed down from a challenge.

A year later, Cora and Clement would become teammates in Boston. Clement would be gone by the ’07 championship, but Cora remained.

Cora wasn’t hired by President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski because of an 18-pitch at bat 13 years ago. He was hired because of his unique skill set. At 42, he’ll be the youngest Red Sox manager since 40-year-old Kevin Kennedy took over the Sox in 1995. Cora’s youth and energy are expected to help him connect with the core of young Red Sox players, a group that seemed to stagnate in 2017. He’s bilingual, which should help him connect with young Latin players such as Rafael Devers and Christian Vazquez. He spent four seasons working in television, which should help him deal with the relentless media in Boston.

Two of the last three Boston titles were won in the first year of a manager’s tenure: the 2004 squad under Terry Francona and the 2013 Sox under Farrell. Each time a new voice was needed to spark a team that expected to compete.

Now Cora will have to provide that voice. He’ll sit at the helm of a team with a high payroll, a team that won 93 games in each of the last two seasons yet will undoubtedly be picked behind the Yankees when predictions are made for 2018.

As bench coach in Houston Cora helped eliminate the Yankees in Game 7 on Saturday night. That pleased a lot of baseball fans in New England. Now Cora will face the much tougher task of pleasing that fan base during the Red Sox season. It’s a difficult task, but one Cora thinks he can handle.

Just like fouling off 14 consecutive pitches before hitting a home run.

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN. His column appears in the Portland Press Herald on Tuesdays.