Defensive prowess ultimately prolonged a career that seemed headed for better things
when Manning broke in with Cleveland at age 20. The fast, lefthanded-hitting centerfielder
hit .285 as a rookie in 1975 and .292 in 1976, when he won a Gold Glove. He was among
the very best defensive outfielders, but he never hit for power, and his average
dropped. Increasingly frustrated playing for the non-contending Indians, Manning
campaigned for a trade. On June 6, 1983, he and Rick Waits went to the Brewers for
Gorman Thomas, Jamie Easterly, and Ernie Camacho. He led ML outfielders with 478
chances in 1983 and tied a record for centerfielders by accepting 12 chances in a
15-inning game, but the Brewers were eventually unable to carry Manning's weak bat.
FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»June 6, 1972: Shortstops are the first two picks in the June draft. The Padres make Dave Roberts the number one selection and the Indians pick Rick Manning number 2. Roberts will make his ML debut in two days. The Phils take high school pitcher Larry Christenson with the 3rd pick, with the Rangers taking high schooler Roy Howell 4th: they'll wait till the 25th round to take Mike Hargrove. The Dodgers use their #1 on SS John Harbin but he will tear up his knee and be gone next year. The Rangers will have 13 from this draft to make the majors. Picking 5th, the Expos take Memphis high school catcher Bobby Goodman, but do better on the 3rd round when they take catcher Gary Carter.
»August 26, 1987: Paul Molitor goes 0-for-4 in Milwaukee's 1–0, 10-inning win over the Indians, ending his hitting streak at 39 consecutive games. His streak was the 7th longest in ML history and the longest in the American League since Joe DiMaggio's 56-game streak in 1941. Molitor faces rookie John Farrell all four times, and is on deck when Rick Manning ends the game with a run-scoring pinch single in the bottom of the 10th.