Manny Mota is one of those players who has fans that were not even born when he played. His primary claim to fame was as a pinch hitter. In 500 at bats as a pinch hitter he had 150 hits with 115 RBI, 63 walks and only 48 strike outs. In most of those situations Mota would be up in an important situation and in many cases, the pitcher would be the closer. He is a Dodgers Legend.
Manny was so well known, he even made a subtle, yet famous, appearance in one of the funniest movies of all time, Airplane!
Although Manny Mota is most famous as a pinch hitter, his career statistics include 3779 at bats with a batting average of .304. In 1972 he received MVP votes and in 1973 he made the All-Star team. As Hall of Fame manager Walter Alston said about Mota that he could “roll out of bed in December and go 4 for 4”.
It does take something special to be a pinch hitter as he barely played defense in his last few seasons. He waited on the bench for the manager to call on him to hit in an important situation. After his playing career ended he was a coach for the Dodgers from 1980 until 2013. His impact on so many Dodgers players is incalculable.
Given how mentally strong one has to be to thrive like Manny Mota did in so many pressure situations, it is worth looking at his recent Instagram post, especially for young players.
View this post on Instagram
Yogi Berra once said “Baseball is 90% mental – the other half is physical.” That statement is 100% correct! Mental toughness in baseball is something that separates the greats from the talented guys who never panned out, is an aspect of your game that is just as important as everything you do to physically prepare… – Mental toughness in baseball is a skill that develops with intentional training and practice. A lack of mental toughness is the biggest enemy of athletes. Lacking mental toughness causes athletes to give up, give in, tank the match, and give less. The level of your athletic success is in direct proportion to your level of mental toughness. – Talent without mental toughness training can be average when it comes to consistent performance… But average talent with mental toughness makes good athletes accomplish great things. 📷 Photo Credit: @jon.soohoo
The whole quote is great wisdom but these really stand out:
The level of your athletic success is in direct proportion to your level of mental toughness.
But average talent with mental toughness makes good athletes accomplish great things.
For any young player, whether in Little League, High School, College or the Minor Leagues, I highly recommend following Manny Mota on Instagram (@mannymota). I am grateful for his wisdom and am looking forward to more from him.