Wednesday, September 02, 2015

This Day in Dodger History: Manny Mota's Record Breaking Pinch Hit

Over the years the Dodgers have had some fantastic batters who excelled at the role of the pinch-hitter.  There have been Dave Hanson, Ron Fairly, Jose Morales and Olmedo Saenz - just to name a few.  Nobody was better, though, than Manny Mota.

He was so good he effectively stopped playing a regular outfield position to concentrate on that role after the 1973 season, and continued to remain on the Dodgers regular roster for another six years.  Heck, the Dodgers even reactivate a recently retired Mota for both the 1980 and 1982 pennant drives in hopes his magical bat could still knock them in.  In 1980 he went 3 for 7 and recorded 2 RBI's.  In 1982, however, he grounded out in his lone at-bat.  BTW, pitching against him in that last at-bat was fellow grey-hair Jim Kaat.

I write all of this because today is the 36th anniversary of Manny Mota's setting the all-time pinch-hitting record of 145 hits.  Check out the 1980 Topps Baseball card above and below that commemorates the achievement.

He finished his career with 150 hits and currently ranks third on the all-time list behind two other former pinch-hitters who played for the Dodgers: Lenny Harris and Mark Sweeney.

If you are interested in reading a fantastic biography on him online check out this piece by Rory Costello at the SABR Biography Project (Link).  It's well worth your time.  Below is a short excerpt:
Manny Mota never seemed to age. “He’s scary,” said Steve Garvey, his teammate with the Los Angeles Dodgers. “I wish just one spring he would show up with one gray hair.” That was in June 1979, a couple of months before the Dominican set the career record for pinch hits.

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Weekend Autograph Opportunities: Steve Carlton

Here are this weekends autograph opportunities and events throughout the Southland. As always, be sure to check the Blue Heaven Calendar for other events (a link can always be found on the tab at the top of this page, just left of center), and always confirm with the establishment. Everything is subject to change.  Please email me with any tips about upcoming events in Southern California.  As the rest of the week progresses I'll update this post with other events (if there are any) as I become aware of them.  Also, I don't always list every event below, so be sure to check my Calendar.  I always try to favor free signing events over paying events.  Click on any pic to embiggen.


Hall of Fame pitcher Steve Carlton will be in town this weekend to sign autographs at the OC Dugout in Anaheim on Saturday, September 5th.  Go here for information.  He'll be in the store signing from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM.
The OC Dugout
1238 S. Beach Blvd. Ste. K
Anaheim, California 92804
(714) 761-6414

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Blog Kiosk: 9/2/2015 - Dodger Links - Jansen, Pederson and a Dodger Class Act

I love this pic of five former Dodger players hanging out with the organization.  From L-R: Steve Yeager, Don Newcombe, Orel Hershiser, Ron Cey and Nomar Garciaparra.  Photo above via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015.

Below are more links to check out:
  • ICYMI, pitcher Joe Wieland has been recalled to the Dodgers.  Via a Dodger press release:
Wieland made one start for the Dodgers, taking the loss on May 6 at Milwaukee, and went 10-5 with a 4.59 ERA in 22 games (21 starts) with Triple-A Oklahoma City this year. The 25-year-old has appeared in 10 career big league games (eight starts) with the Dodgers and Padres (2012, 2014), going 1-5 with a 5.98 ERA. He was acquired by Los Angeles from San Diego in a five-player trade on Dec. 18, 2014, which also netted the Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal.
  • This is a classy thing to do.  Via Jesse Rogers at ESPN, "Dodgers send rubber, dirt from mound to Jake Arrieta to honor no-hitter."
"Really nice gesture," Arrieta said of the Los Angeles Dodgers. "They sent a bucket of dirt from the mound, and they dug up the pitching rubber, which weighed 60 pounds. That's something I'll cherish as much or more than anything I've been given throughout the process."
"People just, I'm sorry, talk s--- about us," Jansen said. "They just don't understand this game sometimes. You can ask the hitters. They're going to go through bad streaks. You're going to go through bad streaks. Since the beginning, I told everybody that I like this bullpen. The guys that we have are pretty special."
  • That Pederson home run off Bumgarner last night was like redemption.  Hopefully it's a big step in the right direction.  Via Steve Bourbon at, "Pederson shakes off slump with big fly."
"I'm just trying to have some more rhythm and stay calm. Just nice and relaxed. See the ball and hit the ball. It sounds so simple but it's not," Pederson said. "The adjustment this offseason was to make the barrel more upright to be consistent. At the start of the year it was good. But you lose things, go down some wrong roads, struggle a bit and you adjust. Like I said, it's a learning process."

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