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"Now Batting For Pedro Borbon, Manny Mota …"

by gwolinetz on October 8th, 2009

I was watching Airplane the other night, and for the first time in the many, many times that I’ve seen the film, I asked myself, “Kyle (that’s what I call myself), did Manny Mota ever actually bat for Pedro Borbon in a live game or did the writers of the movie just pick a pitcher at random and have the formar all-time leader in pinch hits bat for him in the scenario meant to test the echo in Ted Stryker’s head as a goof?”

The first step was determining if the two had ever even played on the same team. I popped on to Baseball Reference and looked up the careers of both Borbon and Mota.

Borbon played 12 years in the majors, the vast majority of these seasons came with the Cincinnati Reds. His last season was the year that Airplane was released (1980).

Manny Mota played 21 seasons, his last 11 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. His career ended in 1982.

So, no, Manny Mota never pinch hit for Pedro Borbon.

But since this didn’t take even close to as long as I thought it would, and I’m in the business of extreme procrastination, I went ahead and checked if Manny Mota has ever batted against Pedro Borbon. This seemed significantly more likely, as both of these players played almost their entire careers in the National League.

Once again, thanks to our good friends at Baseball Reference, we’re able to determine that Mota did hit against Borbon. In 14 plate appearances, Mota singled 3 times off of Borbon, drove in one run and struck out twice. Man, this is bull. I thought I’d at least be able to look up a home run that Mota hit against Borbon or something. Let’s go to Retrosheet and find out when Mota drove in that run.

Actually, Baseball Reference has this information also. It was in the second game of a doubleheader on June 23, 1973. With the Dodgers already up 4-1 in the bottom of the 7th, Mota hit a single to center and knocked in Davey Lopes. Tommy John went the distance and got the win, 3-hitting the Reds. Here’s the full scoreboard from that game (this appears courtesy of Retrosheet):

CIN N 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 – 1 3 0
LA N 0 0 0 0 1 3 1 0 x – 5 8 0

Well, this was a complete waste of time (in a bad way). If this demonstrates anything, it’s that the InterWeb has turned what could have been a colossal time-waster into a mere distraction.

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