Overlooked Gems of My Lifetime

Credit is given where credit is due regarding the overlooked gems of my lifetime.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Manny Sanguillen

Manny Sanguillen was a free-swinging, bad-fielding catcher for the early '70s Pittsburgh Pirates, the Roberto Clemente/Willie Stargell-led squad known as "The Lumber Company," an overlooked gem of a baseball team itself. He was surrounded by Hall of Famers and world-class flakes, but Sanguillen's appetite for any pitch that he could reach, his amazing ability to make quality contact, and his peculiar ticks while awaiting the next pitch added to his luster. I once saw him hit two doubles in one game against the Phils: one on a pitch above his head and another on a pitch that practically bounced up to the plate. Among other unusual distinctions, in 1975, Sanguillen and $100,000 were traded to the Oakland A's for manager Chuck Tanner.


  • At 6:39 PM, Blogger acqattack said…

    Not only was he a great Pirate, he nows serves a dy-no-mite pulled pork sandwhich @PNC Park. I highly recommend "Manny's BBQ" the next time you attend a Bucco home game.

  • At 1:02 AM, Blogger frankenslade said…

    I didn't know that. I'd love to visit PNC Park someday. I'm a Philadelphia guy. Greg Luzinski serves as our BBQ Ambassador at Citizens Bank Park. Ugh... I hate referring to these bank-themed ballparks!

  • At 7:29 PM, Blogger terryd said…

    Manny Sanguillen was a great player and a fans' favorite. He was always wearing a big grin. In the '70's, if it wasn't for Johnny Bench, he probably would have started in many all-star games. He was a consistent .300 hitter and was very aggressive at the plate. He was a good friend of Roberto Clemente and was supposed to be on the mercy flight to Managua Nicaragua that killed Clemente on New Years Eve 1972/1973. He came back to the Pirates in 1979 after being traded to Oakland in 1976 for manager Chuck Tanner. In the '79 World Series Manny had a key pinch hit single which he dedicated to the memory of Clemente.

  • At 8:10 PM, Blogger Everett said…


    Manny Sanguillen is my favorite catcher of all time next to Josh Gibson. He was fast and he could run. He is always overlooked because of his errors. People forget that he did not start playing baseball until he was 22 years old.

  • At 2:08 PM, Blogger TD said…

    Thanks for putting Manny on your list! He was my baseball hero after Clemente passed away. Here are two of my favorite memories of him:

    Once, at a game in Philadelphia (I'm from South Jersey) I saw him hit a double during an intentional walk. That's right! He stood on his toes, reached out, and drove the pitch into center. It caught the center fielder just standing around, and Manny made it to second on the play.

    The second memory came via TV. I was a friend's house watching the 1979 World Series (temporarily enemy territory; they were Orioles fans). It was game 3, the first game in Pittsburgh. The night before, Manny had hit a pinch-single to win game 2. During the pre-game introductions, the Pirates were all lined up on the field. The TV coverage was showing each player as his name was mentioned. At one point, the announcer boomed out "Manny Sanguillen"! The camera stopped...he wasn't there. They panned down the line both ways...but no Manny. Finally, an alert cameraman caught him in the bullpen, where he was warming up the starting pitcher. When the crowd saw where he was, they let out a rousing cheer, and wouldn't stop. Manny walked over and climbed to the top of the bullpen fence to wave to the crowd. Finally satisfied, the audience settled down, and the introductions started up again. Game 3 ended up a disaster for the Bucs, but I'll never forget that electric moment.

  • At 10:12 PM, Blogger Andrea said…

    Thanks for putting this together. Manny was a great player and a good man. I was always a Pirate fan but since our family lived 90 miles east of Pittsburgh, I only attended one game at Forbes Field and had to listen to Bob Prince on the radio for all the rest. His colorful commentary is certainly missed too.
    When I moved to San Diego in 1970 I lived 1/2 mile from the stadium so I became the best Pirate fan in San Diego. Manny would always come out and talk to me and my friends and gave us all the autographs we wanted. Roberto Clemente was also friendly and never denied an autograph. All Pirate fans were diminished by his loss and the sports world became a little darker.
    Again, thanks for putting this together. I don't think I'll ever get to Manny's BBQ so if anyone gets there, tell him Andrea and Carol from San Diego say hello.

  • At 12:17 PM, Blogger uncleclaus said…

    I worked in the clubhouse in 1968 and knew Manny Sanguillen. A nicer man you would never meet. When ever we had free time together he nwould help me with my catching. I hopoe someday to see him again, and renew old friendships


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