The Los Angeles Dodgers honored Manny Mota during a pregame ceremony on Monday to recognize his 50 years with the organization as a player, coach and broadcaster. Mota was joined on the Dodger Stadium field by several family members.
Mota spent 20 years in the Majors, playing for the San Francisco Giants (1962), Pittsburgh Pirates (1963-68), Montreal Expos (1969) and Dodgers (1969-80, 82). He became the first player selected in the 1968 MLB expansion draft but was traded to the Dodgers after appearing in just 31 games for the Expos.
Mota went on to become MLB’s all-time pinch-hit leader with 150, though his mark has since been broken by Lenny Harris (212) and Mark Sweeney (175).
Mota was an All-Star in 1973 and hit .315/.374/.391 with 66 doubles, 22 triples, 12 home runs and 226 RBI in 816 games over 13 seasons with the Dodgers. Included in that was batting .319 as a pinch-hitter during his career with Los Angeles.
He retired in 1980 but returned in September of that year to play in seven games. Mota then returned to the Majors during the 1982 season, though already 42 years old, only appeared in one game.
Since retiring he’s assisted the Dodgers in various roles, including connecting with Latin American players and maintaining a regular presence in the clubhouse. On any given day it’s not uncommon to see the franchise icon passing on his knowledge to current players.
One recent case had Mota providing Alex Verdugo. “Manny is great. I adore Manny. He, like Tommy, bleeds Dodger blue,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
“It’s really good, because whether it’s Kenley, Matt Kemp over the years, or Alex Verdugo, or Yimi, Pedro Baez, Kiké, he really has their ears. Manny is all about trying to play the game the right way, play for the right reasons. So if I hear stuff like Alex taking heed of Manny’s advice, that’s only a benefit to all of us.”
Mota additionally has remained active in providing for those in need through his foundation. He was honored by Yasiel Puig at the third annual Wild Horse Children’s Foundation Poker Tournament and Gala.
“He’s given a lot of good advice in baseball and life. My foundation is better right now because I took things from him,” Puig told DodgerBlue.com of their relationship.
“I flew to the Dominican a couple times to help him and give back to that community too. We want to keep working together to help kids in Los Angeles and Dominican Republic.”