Baseball's all-time pinch-hit leader, with 150, it was said Mota could wake up on
Christmas morning, step into the box, and rip a single to right. Pittsburgh's fourth
outfielder from 1963 to 1968, the Dominican blossomed under manager Harry Walker
tutelage to hit .332 in 1966, his first of seven .300 seasons in eight years. Hindered
by a lack of power and fielding ability, Mota's only season of more than 400 at-bats
came with the 1970 Dodgers. Amid a 1974 youth movement, he emerged as a pinch hitter
extraordinaire. He had ten or more pinch hits six straight seasons; 250 of his last
309 at-bats came off the bench.
One of his greatest moments came in the ninth inning
of Game Three of the 1977 LCS at Philadelphia. Down two strikes, he hit an RBI double,
and the Dodgers rallied for three runs and a 6-5 victory. Near the end of his career,
he often began the season as a coach, only to be activated each year for the stretch
drive. He finally retired with a .297 pinch-hitting average. His .315 batting average
is the best (1,800 or more at-bats) in Los Angeles Dodger history.