There's never been a more successful manager in the history of the Philadelphia Phillies. At age 69, Charlie Manuel is entering his 9th season as skipper for the Phillies. With a World Series Championship in 2008 Uncle Cholly has endeared himself to Philadelphia. The waddle, the stuttering, the smile, the baseball mastery. Entering the last year of his contract Charlie isn't all fun and games in 2013.
It seems eerily familiar to the way the Phillies brought in Charlie Manuel in 2004 as an assitant to the General Manager. The ill-tempered Larry Bowa was fired with 2 games to go in the 2004 season and the road was clear for Manuel to become the Phillies 51st manager in 2005. Heading into 2013 it seems as if the Phillies have Ryan Sandberg quietly waiting on the bench in reserve. Sandberg spent the last two seasons managing for the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs and was promoted to the big league club in the off season.
Grapefruit League action hasn't even begun and it seems as if Charlie is already fed up with the contract nonsense.
"I shouldn't have to explain it to anybody - the team, or President Obama, or anybody," Manuel said. "Seriously. That's kind of how I look at it. I'm not worried about my contract. I've been in baseball 51 years and right now I definitely plan on staying in baseball and I plan on managing."
I can't say I was a Charlie supporter from day one. From 1982 to 2006 the Phillies won the division a grand total of 2 times! In Bowa's 4th season as Phillies skipper it was clear that his angry and aggressive coaching style was not working for a young talented Phillies team. He failed to catapult the Phillies to a division crown and ultimately the playoffs. It was time for a change. We all chomped at the bit for the Jim Leyland's of the coaching relm but ended up with Charlie Manuel.
From 2007 to 2011 all Charlie did was win 5 straight NL East Division titles, 2 National League Pennants, and a World Series! If there is an easy key to success for any coach in Philly, it's simple, WIN! From winning games to winning hearts Charlie is beloved.
It is no wonder Charlie heads into his 9th Spring Training with a little chip on his shoulder. He has clearly established himself as a great manager, motivator, and teacher. He is the winnigest coach in Phillies history, and one of only 2 Phillies managers to ever win a World Series. The only Phillies skipper to make 2 World Series appearances.
With Charlie's declaration of "no more contract talk" hopefully now we can get back to some baseball talk! Like who is going to hit leadoff for the Phillies?!
"Jimmy's been my leadoff hitter ever since I've been here," Manuel said. "When I see Ben Revere hit and see him play, we'll sit down and talk about where he's going to hit and where he's going to help us the most. I've got an idea. We'll find out where we want him. Nobody is going to tell me where to hit somebody."
You tell em Charlie!