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Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Barry Manuel came from humble beginnings to make majors over five seasons

Barry Manuel came from humble beginnings in his native Louisiana, his father paying to send him to a baseball camp in Missouri out of his rice-drying paycheck, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram wrote.

That trip, Manuel recalled to The Star-Telegram in 1992, marked his first time on a bus.

"I remember I was scared to death," Manuel told The Star-Telegram that April. "But that's where I really began to learn to pitch."

Manuel spoke with The Star-Telegram on occasion of him seeing time in his second major league season. He went on to see time in three more, including in 1998, when he gave up an early home run to Mark McGwire.

Manuel's career began in 1987, taken by the Rangers in the second round of the draft out of Louisiana State University.

Manuel started with the Rangers at single-A Port Charlotte. He first made AA Tulsa in 1989. He spent most of 1991 at Tulsa, then, that September, he got his first call to the Rangers.

Manuel saw eight outings with Texas that September. He gave up two earned runs in 16 innings of relief work and picked up a win. He then returned for three more outings in 1992, when he gave up three earned in 5.2 innings and picked up another win.

Manuel then spent the next three seasons back in the minors, with Texas, Baltimore and Montreal. He returned to the majors in 1996 with the Expos, and he became a regular.

Manuel saw 53 relief outings for the Expos in 1996. He went 4-1, with a 3.24 ERA. He moved to the Mets for 19 outings in 1997 and the Diamondbacks for 13 in 1998.

That April in 1998, he gave up Mark McGwire's ninth home run on the year, early in the home run chase. Manuel later told The Tucson Citizen he'd gone after McGwire with a fastball. If he could do it again, he'd probably go with a breaking pitch.

"The name of the game is that you got to get ahead. That's against anybody," Manuel told The Citizen. "You get behind in the count and they're going to make you pay."

Manuel gave up 13 earned runs in 15.2 innings for Arizona that year. He played two more seasons, including a brief stop with Seibu in Japan in 1999. He last pitched for independent Lafayette in 2000.

Manuel has since returned to Louisiana, where he has served as a high school baseball coach. In 2017, he moved from Westminster Christian Academy to St. Edmund. 

"Anytime you lose a guy like Barry Manuel, it's tough," Westminster athletic director Vinnie Bullara told The Opelousas Daily World upon Manuel's departure in June 2017. "Barry has done a number of tremendous things at this school and his imprint will always be there."

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,959
Made the Majors:1,322-33.4%-X
Never Made Majors:2,637-66.6%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:541-X
10+ Seasons in the Minors:329

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