New York Met fans may not agree with me but today was a sad day with the news that Charlie Manuel was dismissed as the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phils are heading for a second straight sub par season and rather than dumping several underachieving, expensive contracts, it was much easier to fire one skipper. While I understand why the move was made (the team promoted Ryne Sandberg to take Manuel’s place), the game will be a little less fun without good ol’ Charlie in the Philadelphia dugout.
Let there be no mistake about it. Charlie Manuel was the most successful manager in the history of the Phillies. In almost nine seasons, his record in Philly was a glistening 780-636. That’s only a quarter of the story. He led Philadelphia to five straight division titles, a streak that is only rivaled by some great New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves teams. The only time the Phillies made back-to-back World Series was when Manuel was at the helm. The 2008 Championship team was only the second World title in the franchise’s 131 year history.
You can say that the organization, originally led by Hall of Fame GM Pat Gillick when Manuel first got there, was largely responsible for the success of the Phillies. That is a good point but that is diminishing Charlie’s impact. Let’s compare the two best runs in Phillies baseball. The Phils from 1976 through 1983 won 5 1/2 (the half is the 1981 strike season) division titles, two pennants and the 1980 World Series. However, three different managers (Danny Ozark, Dallas Green and Paul Owens led those teams. Plus, they had legends Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton and later, Pete Rose on those squads. Philly during Manuel’s tenure has some really good players but it is debatable at best if guys like Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Roy Halladay belong in the Hall.
At age 69, this was probably Charlie Manuel’s last managerial gig. Even with his excellent 2 1/2 years with the Cleveland Indians, Manuel did not manage long enough to be considered for the Hall of Fame. I hope he continues to stay in the game in some capacity as he truly is one of the game’s best and most entertaining people.
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