Dodgertown Memories

Manny Mota

1969–80, 1982

Reliable pinch-hitter Manny Mota shows his form at Dodgertown, Vero Beach, Florida. Mota played for the Dodgers from 1969-1980 and 1982, before beginning a decades long coaching career with the ballclub.

Manny Mota continues to be one of the most popular of all the Dodgers, both in Southern California and in his native Dominican Republic. Since his playing days, Mota has been a coach for the Dodgers and a member of the Spanish-language broadcast team. During his 20 years in baseball as a player, including 13 with the Dodgers, he became the most prolific pinch-hitter of his era. Though his major league record of 150 pinch-hits has been surpassed by Lenny Harris, nevertheless Mota will be remembered in Dodger lore for his clutch contributions to successful Dodger teams. He has been a member of five Dodger teams that participated in the World Series (in 1974, 1977, 1978 as a player; 1981 and 1988 as a coach). He developed the “Manny Mota International Foundation” to “provide educational, health and recreational opportunities for the underprivileged, especially disadvantaged youth, using the Manny Mota Baseball Clinics program.” He has actively supported these young people who need assistance and positive role models, both in Los Angeles and in his home of Santo Domingo. Mota is also remembered for getting his daily exercise by riding his bicycle everywhere around the Dodgertown complex.

Walter Alston and I used to be very close. I have a great deal of respect for him and admiration. One day he invited me to play golf (at Dodger Pines Country Club). I said, ‘Skipper, I don’t play golf.’ He said, ‘I know you don’t play golf, but I want you to go with me.’ So, we’re playing golf and he’s hitting the ball and before you know I see a big snake about six feet long. I said, ‘Skipper, I hate snakes. I appreciate you inviting me, but please don’t invite me any more to this place.’ That was the end of my golf game. It was a great pleasure being in the barracks, which had only one TV downstairs. Then they got the new facility and the new rooms. Those barracks bring back great memories to me. I got to spend time with people like (relief pitcher) Jim Brewer. He was great. I remember in the new facility we used to have a party for the Latin players and Mr. O’Malley used to join us for the party. He approved the guys for one night to get together. For us, the players, that was a great deal to have Mr. O’Malley, a great privilege to join us over there with Ralph Avila. Then, also the way that Peter treated us, really the entire O’Malley family. Peter always taking care of us. He used to bring the writers from the Dominican (Republic) to visit. We used to have those parties by the pool. You don’t forget those things. We loved the way that Peter treated all of us. He is a great man. I have a great deal of respect for him, and the O’Malley family and Mr. (Walter) O’Malley. He was a wonderful man. We spent a lot of time together and Peter always treated us with a great deal of respect and consideration. I am really grateful for that. Holman Stadium was the only dugout with no cover. That’s why Holman Stadium was so special. You were close to the fans and the fans were close to the players and could see them.

“Another thing was spending time with Tommy Lasorda, Tom Paciorek, Ron Cey, Steve Garvey and that infield for so many years, Dusty Baker, Pedro Guerrero, all of those coaches – Red Adams, Joe Amalfitano, Monty Basgall, I can’t remember all of them, but I have a great deal of respect for them. That was a great privilege. I used to play against left-handers. I used to prepare myself facing left-handers in Spring Training. I had the privilege to have Sandy Koufax throw batting practice to me. To me, that was one of the biggest thrills of my life, to have that privilege. To have the best pitcher in baseball to throw batting practice, that was wonderful. That was great of Sandy to agree to throw me batting practice.”

Manny Mota