Max Manning


"Now my pitching staff – Satchel, Sug Cornelius, Hilton Smith, Raymond Brown, Harry Salmon, Sam Streeter, Willie Foster, Harry Glass, Ted Trent and Max Manning. That's 10. We don't need 12 like the Big Leagues 'cause these boys can pitch!"

--Double Duty Radcliffe,
naming his all-time all-star team.


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©Copyright 2000-2001, Kyle McNary, McNary Publishing
kyle@pitchblackbaseball.com

 

 

 

 

Negro Leaguer of the Month
November, 2001

Max "Dr. Cyclops" Manning
Position: pitcher
Career: 1938-1954
Teams: Newark Eagles, Houston Eagles, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Canada

HT: 6'-4"; WT: 180 lbs
batted left; threw right
Born: November 18, 1918 in Rome, GA.


A tall, hard-throwing figure with "Coke bottle glasses," Max Manning was an imposing figure on the mound and one of the top Negro League pitchers of the 1940s.

He became an immediate sensation when he signed with the Newark Eagles in 1938, becoming the number two starter on the staff; Leon Day was the ace.

Along with young stars Larry Doby and Monte Irvin, Manning helped the Eagles become one of the top teams in the East, although they couldn't seem to get past the Homestead Grays until 1946 when they won the Negro League World Series.

In '46 Manning won 11 of 12 league games during the season, and the clinching game in the World Series to upset the favored Kansas City Monarchs. In the 7th game Manning went the distance and won 3-2. Buck O'Neil came up in the 9th with two on and two out (he had homered earlier in the game) and he blasted a ball to deep centerfield. Leon Day, an excellent fielder as well as pitcher, made a great running catch to end the game.

Manning, one of the few Negro Leaguers to wear spectacles, was just wild enough to keep batters from digging in, and he usually piled up large strikeout figures.

In the fall of '46 Manning joined Satchel Paige's All-Stars and pitched a great game against a Major League All-Star team, fanning 14 (Charlie "King Kong" Keller three times), despite losing 2-1.

In winter ball in Cuba that season, Carl Erskine of the Brooklyn Dodgers taught Manning the straight change which made him a complete pitcher. He followed with a 15-6 record in '47 and made the East-West All-Star game. Manning took the loss in the game, but did strike out 3 in 2-1/3 innings and slapped a base hit.

Manning hurt his arm in 1948 and was one of the first pitchers of his era to have arm surgery. The arm was never quite the same but Manning still was a better than .500 pitcher into the mid-50s.