University of Mobile Awards Doctor of Humane Letters to Houston Astros Manager Joe Espada 

Kathy DeanNews

MOBILE, Ala. – Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros Manager Joe Espada was awarded the Doctor of Humane Letters by his alma mater, the University of Mobile, in an announcement made during commencement ceremonies May 4 at the Christian university.

More than 300 graduates who were being awarded associate, bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees and their families watched a video of Espada receiving the honor a month earlier when he was on campus for his induction into the university’s athletic Hall of Fame. Espada was unable to attend UM’s May 4 graduation ceremony as the Astros were scheduled to host the Seattle Mariners later that afternoon at Minute Made Park in Houston, Texas. (Watch the video presentation here 


A native of Puerto Rico, Espada attended the University of Mobile in the mid-1990s as a middle infielder for the UM baseball program, being named a three-time Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) First-Team All-Conference selection and a two-time GCAC Baseball Player of the Year. Additionally, Espada was selected as an NAIA Baseball Second-Team All-American following the 1995 and 1996 seasons. During the 1996 season for the Rams, Espada hit a program-best .442 on the year with 13 home runs and 38 stolen bases. Following that same season, he was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the second round with the 45th overall pick.

From there, Espada played 10 seasons of minor league ball across seven MLB organizations, five of those seasons being played in Triple-A. He began his professional coaching career as a member of the Miami Marlins coaching staff from 2006-2013. He served as the third-base coach for the New York Yankees before joining the Astros in 2018 as bench coach. He was named manager on Nov. 12, 2023.

In Fall 2019, Espada returned to Mike Jacobs Field at UM for a reunion of former UM Baseball members and saw his No. 6 Mobile jersey retired. In April 2024 he again returned to his alma mater and was inducted into the Hall of Fame Class of 2024 by the University of Mobile Athletic Department.

About the University of Mobile

The University of Mobile is a Christ-centered university with a vision of “Higher Education for a Higher Purpose,” founded to honor God by equipping students for their future professions in an environment where they are known. Located 10 miles north of Mobile, Alabama, on a campus of over 880 acres, the university offers associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in over 75 academic programs.The University of Mobile was founded in 1961 and is affiliated with the Alabama Baptist State Convention.

For information about the University of Mobile, areas of study, admissions and more, visit, connect with UM on social media @univofmobile, or call Enrollment Services at 1.800.WIN.RAMS or 251.442.2222.