Now in his 28th season broadcasting Cleveland Indians games on television, Rick Manning has established a record for longevity exceeded only by Herb Score and equaled by Tom Hamilton in the annals of Cleveland baseball announcers. Along the way he was honored with the Cleveland Association of Broadcasters Excellence in Broadcasting Award.
That’s pretty good for a second career. Manning spent 13 years as a Major League centerfielder, first with the Indians from 1975 until 1983, when he was traded in mid-season to the Milwaukee Brewers where he played until retiring after the 1987 season.
Rick earned a Gold Glove Award for his defense in 1976. A long-time media favorite, Rick received the Cleveland Baseball Writers’ “Good Guy Award” in 1980.
He retired with a lifetime batting average of .257 with 56 home runs, 458 runs batted in and 664 runs scored. Speed always was a big part of his game. He stole 168 bases.
His “magic moment” with the Indians, however, came on an otherwise routine play. He caught a fly ball off the bat of Ernie Whitt for the final out of pitcher Len Barker’s perfect game over the Toronto Blue Jays on May 15, 1981, at the old Stadium.
In Milwaukee, he is remembered for getting booed for driving in the winning run in the 10th inning of a 1-0 victory over the Indians on Aug. 26, 1987. His walk off single deprived his teammate Paul Molitor of one more chance to extend his 39-game hitting streak. Molitor, who was in the on deck circle, ended the game hitless in four at bats.
Rick was born on Sept. 2, 1954, in Niagara Falls, N.Y., where he grew up playing shortstop. The Indians made him the second overall selection in the draft of June, 1972. The Indians soon converted him to centerfield and he made his Major League debut on May 23, 1975.
Manning made his broadcasting debut as the color commentator on Indians games on SportsTime Ohio in 1990. His first partner was Dan Coughlin, followed by John Sanders and now Matt Underwood. He also works regional games on the Fox network.
Rick and his wife, Sue, have two grown children and five grandchildren.