Saturday, February 13, 2010
#515) BARRY MANUEL
Barry Manuel joined the New York Mets when he was acquired from the Montreal Expos for cash considerations on March 28, 1997. The former 1986 College Baseball All-American had made his major league debut under manager Bobby Valentine with the Texas Rangers in 1991. In New York he joined Toby Borland and Greg McMichael to become the third right-hander in the bullpen. "Barry's an experienced relief pitcher," Mets' general manager Joe McIlvaine said at the time, "We keep trying to upgrade our bullpen and I think that we have done that in this instance." Manuel became ill during the week after the acquisition. He battled a virus for several days that diminished his appetite and his strength. His Mets debut came on Opening Day in San Diego on April 1, 1997. Coming in as the third reliever of the sixth inning he surrendered five runs. Only a part of the 11 total runs that the Padres would score in that single frame. Resulting in a 12-4 loss. "Let's hope it was the worst inning of the season and we've got it out of the way." Manager Bobby Valentine said, "Hopefully that was opening day jitters." The following day, McIlvaine uncharacteristically lambasted the relievers, saying they pitched "like Little Leaguers," prompting a complaint from a Little League official on Long Island who threatened not to accept complementary tickets to Mets home games.
Manuel would pitch in 19 games for the Mets finishing with a 5.26 ERA. In the middle of June he was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk where he completed the season. On October 15th he was granted free agency and signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks on December 18, 1997.
After his major league playing career, Barry became the head baseball coach and gameday football coordinator at Westminster Christian Academy in Opelousas, Louisiana. He also pitched for a local team, the Lafayette Bayou Bullfrogs of the Texas-Louisiana Professional Baseball league.
Barry Manuel signed his card in the set from an autograph request sent to his home on February 12, 2009.