Manny Mota-Great Pinch Hitter

The only pressure comparable to place kicking in football is pinch hitting in baseball.   Pinch hitters  come to the plate in situations where at least getting on base is almost imperative.  They often are slightly out of rhythm compared to the line up players.   They have not played in the game and may not have seen action for several previous games.  Generally, they do not stay in the line up.  All of their energy and concentration lazers  on one plate appearance or even a single pitch.  The major difference between a baseball pinch hitter and football kicker is the obviously the number of games. 

Manny Mota

At one time, Manny Mota had the record for most life time pinch hits.  Mota had 150 pinch hits in 505 at bats for a .297 average.  Overall,  MM had  a .304 average with 31 home runs.  Manny played from 1962 to 1979 and for 12 of those 18 seasons hit over .300.  I believe twice Mota had the highest batting average in the league but naturally did not have enough plate appearances to quality for the title. 

The reason Mota rarely hit the starting lineup was his fielding, which was not the best.  Mota played for the San Francisco Giants, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Montreal Expos, and the Los Angeles Dodgers.  He credited Pirate manager Harry Walker with developing him into a great hitter.

When Mota broke Smokey Burgess’ record of 145 pinch hits in 1979,  President Carter invited him to the White House.  Manny Mota was in good company that day.  Carl Yastrzemski  came with him ofter his 3,000 th base hit.  Here are some of the quotes from  Manny Mota.

“Pinch hitting is more mental than physical. You have to put all the preparation and positive thinking into one at-bat.”

MY COMMENT-The pressure must be very heavy as a PH concentrates on one appearance.  I really think they have to put themselves in a bubble.

“I loved the pressure, hitting in the clutch with a man in scoring position and the game on the line. I had confidence in that situation.”

MY COMMENT-A pinch hitter has to  love the challenge and the applause that comes with success. Nevertheless, there is always a greater chance of making an out rather than a hit.  As with success,  failure really shows up here.  They cannot let it rattle them.

“When you’re a pinch hitter, the first thing to keep in mind is that you’re up there to swing the bat. Go down swinging if you have to, but remember the worst thing that can happen to a pinch hitter is to get called out on strikes. Nobody can fault you as a pinch hitter if you’re aggressive, if you bear down, swing the bat, and make good contact.”

MY COMMENT-Nothing is worse than the umpire calling any batter out on strikes.  It shows they really misjudged the pitch. 

“Concentration is the key. . .You have to swing at good pitches and you have to know the pitchers.”

MY COMMENT-This goes for every player.  Even the dugout,  players should keep their minds on game.   They should be watching films of teams when not playing.

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