Oct 292010
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel

October 29 Philadelphia Daily News columnist Stan Hochman:

“THE PHILLIES won 97 games this year, more than any other team in baseball, and Charlie Manuel won’t win manager of the year, because the voters are always looking for who did the most with the least, because it makes for a niftier story.

Yo, I’m here to tell you that Charlie Manuel is the best Phillies manager in the last 50 years. Maybe forever!

Been here 6 years, in the playoffs the last 4, in the World Series twice. Won it once. His teams are 544-428 in the regular season, a .560 percentage and that is the last decimal point you are going to find in this tribute.

Most with the least? Manuel had his regular lineup for what, 14 games in the regular season, and still won 97 times. That was Wilson Valdez with 333 at-bats, and even Houdini couldn’t find a place to hide Valdez in the lineup.

Even if his team had stayed healthier, you think it’s a picnic in the park to manage guys making $15 million a year, in the early stages of long-term contracts? Tommy Lasorda once compared managing to holding a dove in your hands. Squeeze too tight and you strangle it. Hold it too loose and it flies away.

Manuel exerts just the right amount of pressure. Calls a meeting when he’s really unhappy. Screeches from blunt to blasphemous early on and nobody, nobody, has trouble understanding the man.

Puts guys in spots that give them the best chance to succeed, which is what managing is really all about. Talks about “heart” and “want-to” all the time, and that sets him apart from most managers.

He’s folksy, he’s warm, he’s loyal, and he has been around long enough to understand the value of a “moment.” Which is why he left Roy Halladay out there in the ninth inning against Washington so Halladay could share the moment of clinching the division with his teammates.

Reaped a quick reward when Halladay pitched a no-hitter his first postseason game ever. And that’s a prime example of why I think Manuel is the best manager this team has had in the last 50 years.

Who’s better? Gene Mauch, who dragged the Phillies out of the rubble of mediocrity in the early 1960s? Dallas Green, who screamed this franchise to its first World Series championship in 1980? Paul Owens, who dragged the Wheeze Kids into the 1983 World Series, where they unraveled against Baltimore? Jim Fregosi, who rode shotgun on a rowdy bunch all the way to Game 6 of the 1993 World Series?”

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