R.I.P. to Dick Manville, a former Yale teammate of George H.W. Bush who went on to a brief pitching career. He died on February 13 in Winter Springs, Fla., at the age of 93. Manville pitched for the Boston Braves (1950) and Chicago Cubs (1952).
Dick Manville was both on Christmas Day, 1926 in Des Moines, Iowa. He attended both Harvard AND Yale Universities, lettering in basketball, baseball, ice hockey and soccer. Somewhere in all that, he also found the time to join the Navy during World War II. At Yale, he was a teammate of George H.W. Bush as the team captain turned future president led the 1947 team to the College World Series. Manville wasn’t able to stay with the team for long, though. He was declared ineligible after it was discovered that he played in the Northern League the previous year.
Once Manville signed with the Boston Braves, he had a quick and ineffective appearance for the Milwaukee Brewers of the American Association before moving to the Evansville Braves of the Three-I League. His debut there was much better. In fact, he throw a no-hitter in his first game, blanking the Davenport Cubs 6-0 on July 24, 1947.
In 1948, his first full season in the minors, Manville went 14-10 for the Hartford Chiefs, and he followed that up with 9 wins for the Brewers in 1949. He had an outside chance to make the Braves starting rotation in 1950, following Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain. He did make the team, at least briefly, out of Spring Training and made his MLB debut on April 30 in Game 2 of a doubleheader against the Phillies. His appearance wasn’t perfect — he walked 3 and threw a wild pitch — but he ended the game with 2 hitless innings and 2 strikeouts. Manville was demoted to Milwaukee a few days later, and after going 1-1 with a 7.55 ERA in 8 games, he was traded to the Los Angeles Angels and the Cubs organization in June. His 2-9 record and 6.98 ERA wasn’t much of an improvement.
Manville was “voluntarily retired” in 1951 but came back to the Cubs in 1952. He had a 2-7 record in Shreveport before the Cubs brought him back to the majors in mid-July. Manville appeared in 11 games in relief for Chicago, with no record and a 7.94 ERA in 17 innings of work. He struck out 6 batters and walked 12 others.
At the end of the season, the Cubs traded him to Pittsburgh in exchange for catcher Clyde McCullough. Manville pitched one season for the Pirates in the low minors before retiring at the end of 1953. In 12 games in the majors, Manville had a 7.11 ERA, with 8 strikeouts and 15 walks over 19 innings.
Reading his obituary, it doesn’t sound like Manville’s life was a meaningless void after retiring from baseball. He met his wife, Elaine, on a California golf course, and the two would be married for 60 years. Together, they raised cotton in Nevada, bought a furniture store in Iowa, adopted one son and had another. The family moved to Ann Arbor, Mich., where Elaine was an interior designer and Dick was the president of the Chamber of Commerce. The couple retired to Florida in 1976, where he owned and operated furniture stores in the Tampa and Orlando areas. The two also traveled all around the world before her death in 2012.
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