646. That's alotta wins, that's alotta Uncle Cholly, southern charm, phun-philled press conferences. I would pay the Phillies or any willing beat writer handsomely to allow me to sit in on just ONE of those press conferences. You can't help but tune in after every win just to hear the ol' skipper speak. It's just Charlie being Charlie.
You just gotta laugh, outta love, at how Charlie nonchalantly fumbles through his interviews. From the look of it you wouldn't know that this Virginian boy is one of the smartest baseball minds alive. He has a passion for the game and he knows an awful lot about it.
In 2005 when Charlie replaced Larry Bowa as the Phillies 51st skipper it was a choice that didn't necessarily make sense to the Philly phaithful. To most it wasn't a pretty pick. Now 646 wins, 5 division titles, 2 NL Pennants, and an illustrious 2008 World Series title later and well the move looks absolutely stunning.
“I can’t imagine the success that we’ve had," Manuel said Thursday night after a dramatic finale to the season beating the Braves in extras. "I’m in the position where I was the manager, but it was definitely a team thing. It came from the players that the organization put together. And the fans had a big hand in it because they affect how we play in Philadelphia. But I think the memories I’ll have from it are what I’ll cherish the most, and the guys who helped me achieve it.”
Charlie is always quick to deflect the praise, after big division clinching wins you will most likely find the skipper tucked away in his office allowing his team to celebrate the victory. That was the case again this season when the Phillies clinched their 5th consecutive N.L. East division title.
But what a way to finish out the regular season! On a night when it looked like the franchise record would have to remain shared and Charlie would have to wait till 2012 to beat Gene Mauch, the Phillies rallied twice in the late innings to beat a a desperate Braves team 4-3 in 13 innings. Not only completing an epic collapse for your division foes but reaching two remarkable milestones in one incredible night. It was only fitting that this Phillies team would set a franchise record in a season with 102 wins on the night our beloved skipper wrote his own page in the Phillies record book.
So now the focus shifts to yet another postseason run. Charlie, armed with the best team in baseball is poised to add another chapter to an already historic run. Congrats Charlie Manuel, Uncle Cholly, on 646 wins! You are the winningest coach in the history of the Philadelphia Phillies! From the city of Brotherly Love and every Phillies phan on the planet, "We love ya Uncle Cholly!"