Manto honored by International League

Two months after returning to the Orioles organization, Jeff Manto has learned that he will be inducted into the International League Hall of Fame.

Manto is enjoying another hot stretch. He’s a streaky guy.

Manto was hired in November as the Orioles minor league hitting coordinator. He replaced Mike Boulanger, who moved into an amateur and professional scouting role.

Now comes news that he’s joining Scranton/Wilkes-Barre manager Dave Miley and Toledo broadcaster Jim Weber as the newest inductees into the IL Hall of Fame later this summer.

“I just found out a couple days ago,” he said. “I guess it was like any other reaction. You never set out to do anything like this. The reaction was shock, No. 1. You don’t think about this type of thing when playing. Then, after that settles down, there are a lot of thanks. You start reflecting on how this happened.”

Manto hit .275 with 125 home runs with seven different IL clubs between 1992 and 2000. He was the league’s Most Valuable Player in 1994, a season split between Norfolk and Rochester.

Manto was a star of the Buffalo teams that won the American Association title in 1997 and the Governors’ Cup in 1998, later becoming just one of three players in Bisons history to have his uniform number retired.

Orioles fans always will remember Manto for tying a major league record with home runs in four consecutive at-bats during the 1995 season, earning him the nickname “Mickey Manto.” He played nine years in the majors, including 89 games with the Orioles in ‘95, when he batted .256/.325/.492 with nine doubles, 17 homers and 38 RBIs in 254 at-bats.

Manto has strong ties to Orioles director of player development Brian Graham. Manto played for Graham in the Cleveland Indians system, and Graham hired him as minor league hitting coordinator for the Pittsburgh Pirates while serving as farm director.

“I’ve got to thank the likes of Brian Graham, who gave me another opportunity to play when I was probably at my wit’s end with playing,” Manto said. “Also, all the good organizations. That’s what it comes down to. It really does.

“It’s one of these things where you don’t set out to do it. You just run with it. You can always be humbled very quickly in this game. You just take these types of things in stride and try to move forward.”

There’s no formal ceremony for HOF induction. Manto most likely will be honored with an on-field ceremony in August when Triple-A Norfolk travels to Buffalo.

Note: Here’s the list of spring training games that will be carried live on WBAL Radio:

Friday, Feb. 28 at Tampa Bay Rays, 1:05 p.m.
Saturday, March 1 vs. Toronto Blue Jays, 1:05 p.m.
Sunday, March 2 at Boston Red Sox, 1:05 p.m.
Tuesday, March 4 at New York Yankees, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, March 8 vs. Boston Red Sox, 1:05 p.m.
Sunday, March 9 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, 1:05 p.m.
Saturday, March 15 vs. New York Yankees, 1:05 p.m.
Sunday, March 16 at Toronto Blue Jays, 1:05 p.m.
Monday, March 17 vs. Minnesota Twins, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday, March 22 at Tampa Bay Rays, 1:05 p.m.
Sunday, March 23 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, 1:05 p.m.
Monday, March 24 vs. Boston Red Sox, 1:05 p.m.
Wednesday, March 26 at Tampa Bay Rays, 7:05 p.m.
Thursday, March 27 vs. Tampa Bay Rays, 7:05 p.m.

MASN previously announced that it will broadcast six Orioles spring training games in 2014 - March 1, 7, 8, 15, 17 and 24.

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