Former Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Baron Jeff Manto became the final inductee into the 2014 International League Hall of Fame class last week when his night was celebrated by the Buffalo Bisons.
Manto, who played for the Red Barons in 1993 and was also a part of the Phillies National League championship squad that year, hit .289 with 17 home runs and 88 RBI that season for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and played in eight games for Philadelphia.
Now a minor league hitting instructor with Norfolk, Baltimore’s Triple-A affiliate, Manto did the bulk of his damage in the International League with Buffalo. He played four seasons with the Bisons, compiling 80 home runs in that stretch with the club. He won the 1994 International League MVP playing for Norfolk and Rochester.
He clubbed 122 of his 243 career minor league bombs while playing in the I.L. One of his most memorable shots came in 1998 on what turned out to be the last day of the regular season against the Red Barons. He hit a game-winning three-run homer in the ninth inning giving the Bisons a half-game lead in the I.L. North. The entire I.L. schedule was lost the next day due to rain and Manto’s shot became a division-clinching homer.
Manto became the third and final inductee into the Hall in 2014, joining RailRiders manager Dave Miley and Toledo broadcaster Jim Weber, who were enshrined in June.
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A one-time top prospect for the Yankees, Manny Banuelos returned to Triple-A for the first time in more than two years last week when he led the RailRiders to a 6-1 victory over Louisville. The left-hander allowed just one run in five innings of work on Tuesday in picking up his first win at Triple-A since 2011. It was also the only win the RailRiders had against the Bats in the four-game home series.
There’s speculation that Banuelos could get a call-up to New York when Major League rosters expand to 40 in September. The Yankees have been keeping tabs on his innings, and he appears to have plenty available if he were to get a promotion.
The 23-year-old has thrown just 66 2/3 innings this season in the minors in his first season back from having Tommy John surgery in 2012.
The RailRiders have a full slate of games this week as the regular season is nearing a close with just about two weeks left to play. SWB will do some traveling this week as well by playing four different divisional opponents and making a quick, two-game stop at PNC Field.
After finishing off a four-game set at Pawtucket’s McCoy Stadium today and tomorrow where SWB looks to end with a winning record, the team returns to Moosic for two games wit Syracuse on Tuesday and Wednesday. The RailRiders have had success against the division-leading Chiefs entering with a 9-5 mark.
They travel to New York to finish the week with a pair of games in Buffalo on Thursday and Friday before heading to Rochester on Saturday. SWB also has a winning mark against the Bisons this season going 6-5, while it has struggled against the Red Wings with a 4-8 mark, including zero wins in four game in Rochester this year.