Rick Manning

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Professional Baseball Player

In 1972, the Cleveland Indians signed LaSalle High School standout and No.1 draft pick Rick Manning to a contract with the largest salary and bonus package (at that time) ever given a Western New York athlete. The highly-touted Manning graduated to the big leagues as a full-time rookie centerfielder for the 1975 Tribe. Rick’s rookie year featured a splendid .285 batting average, 19 stolen bases and 69 runs scored (third on the team). He followed up that season with .292 average in 1976.

Manning’s chief asset was his speed, and his daring exploits on the base paths and breath-taking catches in the outfield made him a fan favorite for many seasons in Cleveland. While his lifetime batting statistics are merely solid (a .257 average with 56 homers, 458 RBIs and 168 stolen bases over 13 seasons with Cleveland and Milwaukee), Rick is probably remembered more for the defensive prowess that earned him a Golden Glove in 1976. That achievement was particularly noteworthy for a high school shortstop who never played the outfield until arriving in the major leagues. Manning is also remembered for the hustle and enthusiasm he brought to the ballpark, attributes particularly remarkable for a player who never played on a contending team in his long major league career. Today, Manning remains one of Western New York’s most enduring contributions to Major League Baseball.