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Félix Mantilla (baseball)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Félix Mantilla
Felix Mantilla 1965.jpg
Infielder / Outfielder
Born: (1934-07-29) July 29, 1934 (age 86)
Isabela, Puerto Rico
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
June 21, 1956, for the Milwaukee Braves
Last MLB appearance
October 2, 1966, for the Houston Astros
MLB statistics
Batting average.261
Home runs89
Runs batted in330
Career highlights and awards

Félix Mantilla Lamela (born July 29, 1934) is a Puerto Rican former professional baseball utility player, who appeared mostly as an infielder. In his 11-year Major League Baseball (MLB) career, Mantilla played for the Milwaukee Braves (1956–61), New York Mets (1962), Boston Red Sox (1963–65), and Houston Astros (1966). He played second base the majority of his big league career (326 games), but also adeptly played shortstop (180), third base (143), outfield (156) and (in the latter part of his career), first base (16). Mantilla batted and threw right-handed.[1]

In 1953, Mantilla (along with Hank Aaron[2] and career minor league outfielder Horace Garner[3]) joined the Class-A Minor League Baseball (MiLB) Jacksonville Braves, of the South Atlantic League — which was (at that time) one of the first two integrated baseball teams in the Southern United States. (Mantilla and Aaron were roommates. In 1954, Aaron became the MLB Braves’ left fielder when Bobby Thomson broke his ankle. Mantilla joined the major league club two seasons later.) Both Mantilla and Aaron were vital contributors to Milwaukee winning the 1957 World Series title over the New York Yankees.

Mantilla was selected by the New York Mets in the expansion draft and became their regular third baseman (95 games — 88 as a starter) in 1962, while establishing career statistical highs in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in (RBI) (.275/11/59). During the 1962 Winter Meetings, he was traded to the Boston Red Sox for Pumpsie Green, Tracy Stallard, and Al Moran.

Mantilla's numbers improved dramatically in the hitter-friendly Fenway Park: batting average of .315 in 66 games (1963); .289 with 30 home runs (1964) (five fewer than he had hit in his career prior to that season); a career-high with 92 RBI (1965). That season, he was also named to the American League (AL) All-Star team for the only time in his career.

Prior to the start of the 1966 season, the Red Sox traded Mantilla to the Houston Astros for Eddie Kasko.[4] Mantilla spent that year as a utility player before being released on November 28, 1966.

The Chicago Cubs signed Mantilla as a free agent before the start of the 1967 season; however, during spring training he suffered an Achilles tendon injury that required surgery.[5] Mantilla never played a game for them and was released on July 6. He went to spring training with the Cubs in 1968 as a non-roster player; at the end of camp the Cubs signed him to a minor league contract,[6] but he never appeared in another professional game.

Looking upon Mantilla‘s major league career stat line, he posed solid numbers, including a lifetime batting average of .261, with 89 home runs, and 330 RBI.

On May 26, 1959, in the 13th inning of a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee County Stadium, Mantilla ruined Harvey Haddix's bid for a perfect game.[7] Leading off the inning, he hit a ground ball to third baseman Don Hoak, whose throw to first pulled Rocky Nelson off the bag for an error.[8] (Mantilla had not even been in the starting lineup; he entered the game in the 11th after Del Rice had pinch-hit for Johnny O'Brien.) Mantilla was sacrificed to second by Eddie Mathews, followed by an intentional walk to Hank Aaron. The following batter, Joe Adcock, hit one over the right-center field wall, just beyond the reach of right fielder Joe Christopher (who was making his Major League debut), for an apparent 3–0 victory. Mantilla scored the winning run, but Aaron, thinking the ball was still in play and that the game ended when Mantilla scored the winning run, rounded second and then headed for the dugout. Adcock, running out his home run, passed Aaron on the bases; as a result, the ruling from National League (NL) president Warren Giles was that Adcock's hit was a double (not a home run), only Mantilla's run counted and the final score was 1–0.[9]

Mantilla's Topps 1962 baseball card was featured in the 2000 film Skipped Parts as the top card in a stack being thrown into a fire as part of a right of passage/growing up event between a stern grandfather (R. Lee Ermey) and his grandson (Bug Hall).[10]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • 1957 10 07 Yankees at Braves World Series Game 5 (Bob Neal and Earl Gillespie)


See also


  1. ^ "Felix Mantilla Minor Leagues Stats". Sports Reference LLC. 2020. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  2. ^ Johnson, Bill (July 31, 2014). "Hank Aaron SABR BioProject". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  3. ^ "Horace Garner Minor Leagues Statistics & History". Sports Reference LLC. 2020. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  4. ^ "Red Sox trade Felix Mantilla". The Baltimore Afro-American. UPI. April 5, 1966. p. 22. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  5. ^ "Mantilla Has Leg Surgery: Out 3 Months". The Chicago Tribune. April 19, 1967. p. 63. Archived from the original on December 23, 2014. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  6. ^ Dozer, Richard (April 3, 1968). "Florida Final: Cubs Lose in Wind (Send Mantilla to Tacoma Farm Club)". The Chicago Tribune. p. 73. Archived from the original on December 23, 2014. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  7. ^ "Milwaukee Braves 1, Pittsburgh Pirates 0 Box Score". Sports Reference LLC. May 26, 1959. Retrieved January 10, 2020.
  8. ^ Banks, Kerry (2010). Baseball's Top 100: The Game's Greatest Records. Vancouver, BC: Greystone Books. p. 29. ISBN 978-1-55365-507-7.
  9. ^ Chen, Albert (June 1, 2009). "The Greatest Game Ever Pitched". Sports Illustrated. pp. 62–67. Retrieved October 22, 2015.
  10. ^ Armour, Mark (April 19, 2017). "Skipped Parts: SABR's Baseball Cards Research Committee". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved April 19, 2017.

External links

This page was last edited on 25 January 2021, at 02:14
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