“It’s quite an honor to be selected for such a prestigious award. I’m elated in a historical perspective to be included in such an elite group of talented athletes. It means so much to be part of and represent the legacies in the Sacramento area.”
Major League Baseball
High School: Rancho Cordova
* MLB Playing Career: 5 Years (Detroit, Montreal, San Diego)
* MLB Managing Career: 9 Years (Chicago White Sox, New York Mets)
* American League Manager of the Year (2000)
* World Series Champion - Coach (1997)
Jerry Manuel was born in the small town of Hahira, Georgia. His father, Lorenzo, was a tremendous pitcher in the Negro Leagues. Jerry loved spending his Sunday’s watching and imitating his father. In 1969, his family moved to a new home outside of Mather Air Force Base, where he immediately got involved in sports at Mitchell Jr High. He attended Cordova High School and played Varsity Football in his first year. Being thinner, he wanted to be sure they were going to let him play, so Jerry put rocks in his pants to add weight during his physical. He didn’t realize they would make him take off his clothes; so it didn’t work after all.
The very first time Jerry touched a football in high school, he returned a punt for a 75 yard touchdown. He led his team in many different categories, even playing one game with a separated shoulder using only one hand to catch the ball in a victory over Woodland. The very next game he intercepted a pass in the end zone and returned it 100 yards to win the game and take the Lancers to the Championship. Seeing his talents, the basketball coach asked him to come out for the team; which was great for Jerry as basketball was his first love. He started as the 6th man but quickly moved to a starting guard. He then moved to baseball and played Varsity right away. Jerry was the first player to play all three sports on Varsity as a Sophomore!
Much to his surprise he was drafted out of high school but he didn’t know what that meant: he thought that meant he was going into the Army. In 1972 Jerry and his high school friend Mike Ondina became the first teammates to ever be selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft. He won a championship his first two years in the minor leagues and also added a third in Triple-A. In 1975, he got called up to the Detroit Tigers. He had mild success playing for five years with the Tigers, Expos and Padres. But his future wouldn’t be as a player it would be as a coach and eventually a Manager.
Jerry always knew the strategies of the game and was a fierce competitor: he learned the game in order to win. The one quality that Jerry has in all situations is being a leader. “…he was very insightful because he was always helping the younger players, both on and off the field," said Wallace Johnson, Manuel's third-base coach and former Expos teammate. "He was always willing to share information with young guys coming behind him." Manuel was, and is, the kind of guy who speaks softly but carries a big piece of lumber. He rarely turns up the volume and he chooses his words carefully.
In 1986, Jerry joined the Expos minor league affiliate as a coach. He spent the next three years in different positions leading to him becoming the manager of the Jacksonville Expos in 1990; where he was named the Double-A Manager of the Year. He was then brought up to Montreal to be the 3rd base coach for the Expos, where he would remain through the 1996 season. In 1997, he was the bench coach under legendary Manager, Jim Leyland, and help guide the Florida Marlins to their first World Series title. Sadly, just days after his World Series victory, his father passed away.
A month later he signed to manage the Chicago White Sox, where he would spend the next six seasons. In his first two seasons the Sox finished in 2nd place in the AL Central. In the 2000 season, they won the Division and Jerry earned the American League’s Manager of the Year honor. Jerry went on to manage the New York Mets from 2008 to 2010. He accumulated 704 wins and has managed a total of 1,390 games in his nine big league seasons. During that time his teams finished either first or second in their division six times.
Jerry is a strong Christian who believes that you witness through your lifestyle. His faith has gotten him through many situations in his life, especially the passing of his father and his sister, Barbara, within a few years of each other. Jerry lives in Sacramento with his wife and high school sweetheart, Renette. They have four children: Angela, Jerry, Anthony, and Natalie; and have a total of seven grandkids! He started The Jerry Manuel Foundation in 2009 to give young baseball players an opportunity to advance their education. He also serves on Major League Baseball’s diversity committee.