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Manny Delcarmen
Boston native a local favorite

By Corey Gottlieb / MLB.com

That Manny Delcarmen is known as "The Pride of Hyde Park" is a story so perfect -- so fluid -- that it practically tells itself.

"Manny grew up right on Charles Street," said Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, "and it didn't take long for him to become a local favorite. Anyone in the area who knows sports has heard his story."

To get at the heart of such a story, though, is to tap into its urban backdrop and undercover a man called Kuki. Such is the alias by which the town knows Manny Sr., father to the emergent Boston Red Sox reliever and former member of the Philadelphia Phillies organization.

Born in 1956, Kuki signed a contract with the Phillies at age 17, allegedly receiving a $3,500 signing bonus that was the second highest ever given to a player of Dominican descent at the time. Though he found small-ball glory with a Class A Peninsula Pilots squad that won the Western Carolina League title in 1976, the shortstop fought for five years but was unable to scrap his way to the bigs.

Kuki was thus forced to abandon his dreams for the financial realities of raising a family, trading in his bat and glove for the more practical tools of an auto mechanic. He held onto the game, though, spending practically every free moment playing baseball and softball in adult recreational leagues.

Not ironically, it was with this juxtaposed image of this father -- mechanic by day, infielder by night -- that a young Manny Delcarmen began to envision his own path to the Show.

Age: 26

Hometown:
Boston, Mass.

School: West Roxbury HS (Mass.)

MLB Teams:
BOS

Video | Player bio

Ever the reminiscent mentor, Kuki has been known to tell stories of how a growing Manny expressed an innate desire to outperform his father. And, according to Kuki, the boy's fantasy didn't take long to materialize, as he earned the nickname "Little Rocket" for the scorching fastball he displayed in the Boston Little League circuit.

It was here that the quickly rising hurler transformed from Kuki's son into Manny Jr., a man among boys who rapidly evolved into one of Massachusetts' top pitchers. As rumor has it, the stud prospect told his father that he would only play for the Red Sox, leaving Kuki to deal with visiting scouts while he steered clear.

"Manny's always been willing to stand up when it comes to his roots," said. Menino. "He's always been true to Boston, to Hyde Park."

Call it hometown idealism, but the logic is raw in all the right ways: It was Boston that had given the first Manny Delcarmen a life outside of baseball, and so it was Boston that would give the second Manny Delcarmen a life within it.

And that it did. As this postseason has made clear, Manny Jr. is a rising star, and Manny Sr. is the living, breathing example of what happens when a boy sees his father's dream deferred.

For that, Hyde Park has two reasons to be proud.

Corey Gottlieb is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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