Longtime coach Mark Manzanares honored as Cal Ripken Hall of FamerJul 01, 2022 12:01PM ● By Greg James
By Greg James | [email protected]
The Cal Ripken Hall of Fame welcomed a Hunter-Cyprus inductee this year, Mark Manzanares.
“I started helping coach,” Manzanares, a longtime coach and league board member said. “I started with my nephew and then my son all the way through. I just stayed with it.”
Manzanares coached with Hunter-Cyprus Little League, Saint Francis Babe Ruth, and Hunter and Cyprus high schools. He influenced thousands of baseball players in his 32 years, seven of those at the high school level. At times he coached two teams because there were not enough volunteers.
“I feel good about all of this. I am not sure how deserved it is. I just love baseball and coaching. It is easy for me to be out on the field,” he said.
He was the Babe Ruth board president and before games at Cyprus he operated a snack bar which he would haul onto the field every day using his personal trailer. He held various positions on the board. including organizing umpires.
“Baseball teaches life lessons like how to be a teammate and work with others. It helps kids understand what it takes to be successful and respect authority. If you work hard you can have success, being part of a team is the main thing,” Manzanares said.
Babe Ruth League established its first hall of fame in 1968 as a way to honor people and organizations who play a vital role in the development of baseball and softball programs for young people ages 5-18. It includes organizations like Rawlings Sporting Goods and Jamestown, NY for holding the first-ever Babe Ruth World Series.
“Baseball can give an experience of what it is like to be the worker or the boss,” Manzanares said. “There have been quite a few players that I have coached, that have played a little bit professional and coached collegiately.”
Manzanares graduated from Judge Memorial High School in 1988.
“I love Hunter-Cyprus it offers so much for these kids. We are in a lower-income area and to keep this Little League around for as long as it has been. It is for those that don’t have the opportunity to play at a competitive level. It can cost a lot and for it to support these kids means a lot,” Manzanares said.
Cal Ripken baseball, part of the Babe Ruth Inc., was organized in 1951 by 10 men in New Jersey. Those men saw a problem for boys ages 13-15, they had no place to play. They organized a league and it was called The Little Bigger League. Today the league is known as Babe Ruth League and incorporates boys and girls baseball and softball and services over one million players and 59,000 teams.Hunter-Cyprus was organized in 1955. They host baseball leagues in the spring and fall and is affiliated with Babe Ruth League Inc. Its divisions start with t-ball for ages 4-5 and end with seniors ages 16-18. Their games are played at Hunter Park and Magna Copper Park.