On IL Hall induction day, recalling Manto's lost home run - The Buffalo News

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On IL Hall induction day, recalling Manto's lost home run

Jeff Manto helped the Bisons win a lot of games during his four years here with his bat. With his knowledge of hitting. And with his sensibility in the clubhouse. Fans remember the bombs launched on to Oak Street or into the left-field screen -- which Manto referred to as "unforced errors", stealing from the tennis lexicon by pointing out a ball into the net above the fence because of a mistake by a pitcher.

But my favorite little-told Manto story heading into his induction here tonight into the International League Hall of Fame centers around his what was his most significant home run in the standings. It was a three-run shot in the ninth inning that turned a 7-5 deficit into an 8-7 win at Scranton in Game 143 of the 1998 season.

The shot off the left-field scoreboard at then-Lackawanna County Stadium gave the the Bisons a half-game lead in the North Division -- and became a division-winning home run when everyone was rained out of their season finales the next afternoon.

The problem? No video exists of it. Anywhere.

There was no in-house TV in Scranton back then, local television stations had taken some footage and left and the Bisons had hired a free-lance videographer in case of a division championship to work the next day. But not the second-last night.

Manto was unaware of that fact when I talked to him last week for Sunday's Inside Baseball column that reviewed his IL career. But we had a good laugh about it.

"You were there," Manto told me. "It still counts. It was a great moment. That team had gone through a lot of things and to be able to do that in that spot was something you certainly remember."

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