I was born in March of 1978 in an era of Phillies baseball that was considered the golden years. The Phillies had just come off back to back 101 win seasons losing in the NLCS both years. In 1978 they won 90 games but the end result was the same. I was two years old when the Phillies won their first world series in 1980 and would be five when they would return only to lose in 1983. After that season another drought in Phillies baseball had begun. There was a blip on the radar in 1993, a 97 win season and another trip to the World Series. The 1993 Phillies were one of my favorite squads and will always remain a favorite in Philadelphia; a team that came out of nowhere only to lose to the Toronto Blue Jays 4-2 in the series. After the 1993 season yet another long drought began where the most exciting thing at Veterans Stadium was the 700 level.
Enter the opening of
in South Philly on April 12, 2004 and the beginning of a new golden era of Phillies baseball. The Phillies finished second in the NL East that season under manager and former short stop Larry Bowa with a record of 85-75. Citizens Bank Park
In the off season the Phillies made the decision to hire Charlie Manuel on 11/4/2004. Manuel had managed the Cleveland Indians from 2000 to 2002, winning 90 and 91 games in his first two seasons there only to leave after a 39 win campaign in 2002. He joined a Phillies team and organization that was now creating a new found commitment to winning. They had just built a brand new ball park and wanted to make sure that they filled the seats after the new car smell had worn off.
In Manuel’s third season as manager the Phillies finally broke through and returned to the playoffs in 2007. A sign of things to come, Manuel managed the team to a 92 win season in 2008 and their second World Series ring. In six seasons under Manuel the Phillies have won 4 NL East crowns, 2 NL Pennant’s and 1 World Series.
Charlie Manuel is viewed in my eyes as every Phillies fan's grandpa. He has that likeness to him. He may stutter and stammer in post game interviews, but he somehow makes sense. He has been in the game of baseball his entire life. He was first signed by the Minnesota Twins in 1963 and played six seasons with them and the Dodgers from 1969-1975. I would say that he is a better manager then he was a player. He has earned a new contract and the Phillies should pay him as one of the best managers in baseball, because that is what he is. The Eagles may claim to be the “gold standard” of the NFL, but they are not even the gold standard of franchises in their own city. That title goes to the Phillies and Charlie Manuel is a big reason for their success. As Teddy KGB in Rounders said…”Pay him…Pay that man his money”.