Mota made his Major League debut on April 16, 1962 for the now San Francisco Giants against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and he hit a flyball to centerfield in his first at-bat. His first hit was an RBI single off Jim Brosnan of the Cincinnati Reds on April 21, 1962. He had 13 hits in 74 at-bats for a .176 batting average in 47 games for the Giants.
On June 11, 1969 Mota was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers (along with Maury Wills) for Ron Fairly and Paul Popovich. Once in L.A., Mota became the number one pinch hitter there and hit over .300 during the next five seasons.
On May 16, 1970, Mota hit the only batted ball in major league history to cause a fatality. In the bottom of the third against the Giants at Dodger Stadium, Mota fouled one off of Gaylord Perry along the first base line. The ball struck 14-year-old Alan Fish in the left temple. Four days later, Fish died of an inoperable head injury.
In 1973, Mota was selected to the National League All-Star team after leading the league in batting average. From 1974 through 1979, Mota was continuously called upon for late inning heroics, where he averaged 10 pinch hits for 6 straight seasons. The Dodgers appeared in the 1974, 1977, and 1978 World Series. In 1979, he established his place in the record books by becoming the all-time leader in Pinch Hits. He had a compact swing and often half-swung just to push the ball beyond the reach of the first baseman for a hit.
Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday spotlights…all time pinch hit leader…Manny Mota.
|April 16, 1962, for the San Francisco Giants|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 1, 1982, for the Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Runs batted in||438|
|Career highlights and awards|