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Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday …Manny Sanguillen

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Often overlooked when talking about great catchers from the 1970’s Sanguillén was one of the best catchers in Major League baseball in the early 1970s.While he didn’t possess Bench’s power hitting ability, Sanguillen hit for a higher batting average.He was an integral member of the Pirates teams that won three consecutive National League Eastern Division pennants between 1970 and 1972, and a World Series victory in  1971.Sanguillen was also a fast baserunner for a catcher and was a good defensive player with a strong throwing arm.

Sanguillen was notorious for being a “bad-ball” hitter. Most pitchers will try to strike out an aggressive, free-swinging hitter by forcing him to swing at pitches outside the strike zone when he has two strikes on him. Sanguillen often irritated opposing pitchers and managers by hitting bad pitches for base hits.He rarely walked, and was the only player since 1900 with at least six straight seasons with 475 plate appearances and fewer than 22 walks.This was also why, in spite of his high batting average, his on-base percentage was lower than the league average over his career.

Sanguillen was a valuable member of the world champion 1971 Pirates. He had his best year in terms of offensive production by hitting for a .319 batting average, while hitting 7 home runs and 81 runs batted in. He also had his best year defensively, finishing third among National League catchers in games caught (135), second in base runners caught stealing (37), caught stealing percentage (51.4%), fielding percentage (.994) and first in assists (72). The Pirates won the National League Eastern Division pennant by 7 games over the St. Louis Cardinals, then defeated the San Francisco Giants in the 1971 National League Championship Series, before winning the World Series against the Baltimore Orioles. In the seven-game series, Sanguillen had a .379 batting average with 11 hits, second only to the 12 hits by Roberto Clemente.

Smallthoughts : Old School Tuesday spotlights… Manny Sanguillen.


MLB debut
July 23, 1967, for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Last MLB appearance
October 5, 1980, for the Pittsburgh Pirates
MLB statistics
Batting average .296
Hits 1,500
Runs batted in 585
Career highlights and awards

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