Monday, April 21, 2014

NAMES OF THE GAME: HEINIE MANUSH





I'd pay the prime-time theater admission price just to hear Adam Sandler say in that whiny voice he frequently uses in all his movies:

Heinie Manush.

Henry Emmett ma-NOOSH is a Hall of Famer, and batted .378 (twice), . 362, .355, .350 and .349 but won only one batting title. He clearly is more than an amusing name.

Despite it sounding soft and doughy, maybe more fit for a German baker, Manush was pure hardscrabble. "Heinie'' was a popular German nickname for "Henry,'' and several early 20th century players had it. Manush is the most famous, because, well, he had a very interesting 17-year career.

A line-drive hitter from Alabama, Heinie came up with the Tigers in 1923 and found a kindred spirit in player-manager Ty Cobb, another follow Southerner known for kicking hiney. However, Cobb kissed up to this Heinie, seeing a potential batting champion if he only choked up to make consistent contact and used all fields. That guidance made all the difference. 

Earning the center field job in '26, he also won his AL batting title on the last day over Babe Ruth and Manush teammates Bob Fothergill and Harry Heilmann. Heinie trailed all three before going 6-for-9 in the season-ending doubleheader to finish at .378.

Abusing the baseball and diamond antagonists came natural to the pugnacious Manush. Never more so than in the '33 World Series, when Heinie's Senators faced the Carl Hubbell-Mel Ott Giants.

Having a poor Series, Manush was called out by umpire Charlie Moran trying to leg out an infield single in Game 3. An argument led to Heinie yanking Moran's elastic bowtie while being pulled away and snapping it back around Moran's neck. 

I'm envisioning that ump then barking, "Rrrowf! Rrrowf!'' and jabbing Heinie in the eyes with the classic Stooges horizontal peace sign. Unfortunately, such tomfoolery never happened, but Manush did become the first player ejected from a World Series game. 

His rough and rowdy past aside, Manush put together quite a career, hitting .330 in just over 2,000 career games, amassing 2,524 hits, including four 200-plus hit seasons. 

Rumor has it Sandler is negotiating to play him in Heinie's Story: The Man, The Myth, The Manush.





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