(Born August 23, 1964) -- Becoming a great player in a minor league city is a mixed blessing. Most baseball players would prefer to be more of a major-league journeyman. Still, there’s no doubt that Jeff Manto was one of Buffalo’s all-time greats.
Manto passed up a chance to sign with the Yankees when drafted out of high school, and eventually landed with the Angels after a stop at Temple University. He worked his way up to the AAA level by 1989, but started bouncing through a variety of organizations.
Manto had some major-league service time, but couldn’t quite stick for long in many cases. He came to Buffalo in 1997, and fit right in. Manto had 20 homers in 221 at-bats.
It was more of the same after that. He hit 23 homers in 62 games in 1998, 23 homers in 66 games in 1999, and 13 more homers in 2000.
Manto squeezed out 289 games in the majors, but Buffalo will always be special for him. He’s a member of the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.
--- Budd Bailey