21 September 2009

manny mota final tribute - the card that should have been

pinch hitting...for pedro borbon...manny mota.

while mota never pinch hit for pedro borbon, he did pinch hit for a lot of people. and, he did so quite successfully, with 150 pinch hits in his career which was a record at the time. sadly, there is no final tribute for manny who played in his last game in 1982. that is, until now. here is the card that should have been: a 1983 o-pee-chee manny mota.

manny had retired following the 1979 season and immediately became the dodgers' hitting coach. he came out of retirement to make 7 pinch hit appearances (going 3 for 7 with 2 rbi) in the last month of the 1980 season before retiring again. two years later, the dodgers once again called upon mota to suit up. he made his only 1982 appearance, and the last of his career, on september 1, 1982.

the dodgers were playing against the cardinals at dodger stadium. they trailed the braves by just one-half game in the nl west going into the day, and were fighting to keep pace. with the game going into extra innings, tom lasorda was pulling out all the stops. he had used 7 pinch hitters and one pinch runner going into the bottom of the 13th. the dodgers were trailing 6-5 (ozzie smith had singled in a run in the top of the 13th), and after a ron cey single and caught stealing, followed by a steve garvey double, the rookie mike scioscia was due up. whitey herzog elected to make a pitching change, and brought in jim kaat, the crafty veteran lefty. it should be noted that the cardinals, who were in first place in the east, had already used 6 pitchers, including bruce sutter. lasorda countered with manny mota, who had signed a contract that same day, setting the stage for the 43 year old pitcher to face the 44 year old batter. it was a battle for the ages (ha)!

sadly for dodger fans, mota did not hit safely. he grounded out to second, but at least he got the runner over, dadgum it! that's how they did it in his day. the 9th and final pinch hitter of the day, dave sax, lined out to third to strand garvey and end the game. the dodgers would go on to overtake the braves for a short time, but would eventually finish second thanks to joe morgan's (boo!) 3-run home run on the final day of the season.

mota retired permanently after the season ended. he has remained with the dodgers organization since his retirement, and is deeply involved in many charity and relief organizations in latin america. i hope to get to spring training next year so i can wave to manny as he rides along on his bicycle.

here's to you manny mota!


Carl Crawford Cards said...

Great card. I didn't realize Mota was doing an honorable Favre thing in the early 80's. Pretty cool, actually. I mean, the other manager has no idea if the hitting coach is/is not eligible.

Collective Troll said...

A well done card and great pic of a great player. Mota could do it all, but most of all he could hit. Cool tribute to a deserving legend