I’ve already made it clear in “Acta’n a Fool” that I’m a HUGE Manny Acta fan. His masterful coaching against the Yankees on May 31st is a perfect example of the kind of astonishing strategy that Tribe fans should expect from him and that he made a name for himself by in Washington.
In fact, the coaching he did is valuable testament to the kind of impact managing has on a baseball game and is why the position is so damn important.
In the 7th inning, down only 1 run to the New York Yankees, Acta made the astute choice to just end the game.
Instead of pitching to Mark Tiexiera, his terrifying .221 AVG and anemic .387 slugging percentage (30 points lower than masher Ichiro). Manny intentionally walked the first baseman to pitch to… Alex Rodriguez.
In 9 at bats this year with the bases loaded, ARod is hitting .556 with 2 HRs and 16 RBIs.
OK, 9 at bats is a pretty small sample to draw any conclusions from. Maybe Acta wasn’t fooled by ARod’s luck this year with the bags full?
Yeah… not the case. In his 14 years in the bigs, the man has hit .350 with 20 HRs and 230 RBI with a .710 slugging percentage with the bases loaded. That’s right; he is only three Grand Slams behind Lou Gehrig for the all time record.
Literally shocked by those numbers, I racked my brain for an ‘all-time’ list- guys I remember being Gods with the bags juiced or guys I heard my father speak reverently of. Once I had my top 5, I checked out the stats on these modern monsters (We don’t have situational stats pre 1974):
Rod Carew: .366 AVG, 5 HR, 177 RBI, .546 SLG
Wade Boggs: .363 AVG, 4 HR, 170 RBI, .480 SLG
Barry Bonds: .376 AVG, 11 HR, 214 RBI, .624 SLG
Manny Ramirez: .333 AVG, 21 HR, 252 RBI, .705 SLG
Pat Tabler: .489 AVG, 2 HR, 108 RBI, .693 SLG
ARod’s stat line seems to edge them all out.
So, just a recap: down 1 run, with 1 out and two guys on in the 7th, Manny Acta walked a guy to pitch to perhaps the greatest bases loaded hitter of all time. I’m almost speechless. The man makes managing more baffling than a David Blaine special.