You know when you compare me to a Gomer Pyle or an Andy Griffith, at least you could put me on the Dukes of Hazard”. – Charlie Manuel, quoted by AP, November 2, 1999
During Manuel’s tenure in Philadelphia, the Phillies not only won the franchise’s second championship in its nearly130-year history, but also compiled an N.L.-best 544-428 record. By any organization’s standards, Manuel’s run of success has been impressive. In Philadelphia, it has been unprecedented.
The Philadelphia Phillies have had 51 managers, a list that Manuel already tops in terms of average finish (admittedly, a figure that can be misleading because Manuel has managed in the five-team NL East). He also ranks fourth in winning percentage (among managers with at least one full season) and wins, two lists he could possibly top if the 2011 team fulfills its wild expectations. What’s more, if Manuel lasts through the end of the extension, which culminates in 2013, he would also wind up with the most games managed in Phillies’ history.
Top-10 Managers in Phillies History, Ranked by Wins
When Manuel was hired in 2005, it was hoped he would be a calming influence for a talented team that had been brow beaten by the hot tempered Larry Bowa. It should be noted, however, that not everyone agreed at the time. Following the announcement, Manuel was rudely greeted with his own “Clueless Joe moment” when a headline in the Philadelphia Inquirer read “Wade whiffs at skipper search”. And, the newspaper was not alone in voicing its displeasure. The overwhelming fan sentiment supported Jim Leyland, whose championship track record carried more weight than Manuel’s short stint in Cleveland. Meanwhile, the more nostalgic followers of the team preferred Jim Fregosi, who managed the colorful 1993 team to the World Series.
Before establishing himself as one of the most successful managers in the game, Manuel biggest obstacle was the popular misconception about his relative lack of intelligence. Because of his thick West Virginia drawl and small town expressions, he was often portrayed as a country bumpkin. In reality, however, he was a very worldly baseball man.
Manuel not only played, coached and managed throughout the major and minor leagues, but also spent six seasons in Japan. While abroad, he established himself as one of the best players in the NPL, belting 192 homers during his career and becoming the first American to win the league MVP in 1979. Based on his collective experience, it would have been foolish to judge the man by his manner of speaking, but nonetheless, Manuel constantly had to battle the stereotype.
To his credit, Manuel has always maintained a healthy, self deprecating sense of humor. Thanks to his success, however, more people are now laughing with him than at him. As for the last laugh, well, that belongs to Manuel. And, following the contract extension, he’ll probably be enjoying it all the way to the bank.
Most Tenured Active Managers
|St. Louis Cardinals||Tony Larussa||2428||1318||1110||8||1|
|Los Angeles Angels||Mike Scioscia||1782||980||802||6||1|
|Minnesota Twins||Ron Gardenhire||1459||803||656||6||0|
|Chicago White Sox||Ozzie Guillen||1135||600||535||2||1|
|Boston Red Sox||Terry Francona||1134||654||480||5||2|
|Philadelphia Phillies||Charlie Manuel||972||544||428||4||1|
|Detroit Tigers||Jim Leyland||811||424||387||1||0|
|Tampa Rays||Joe Maddon||810||404||406||2||0|
|San Diego Padres||Bud Black||649||317||332||0||0|
|San Francisco Giants||Bruce Bochy||648||323||325||1||1|
|Texas Rangers||Ron Washington||648||331||317||1||0|
|Oakland Athletics||Bob Geren||647||307||340||0||0|
|New York Yankees||Joe Girardi||486||287||199||2||1|
|Cincinnati Reds||Dusty Baker||486||243||243||1||0|
|Colorado Rockies||Jim Tracy||278||157||121||1||0|
|Washington Nationals||Jim Riggleman||237||102||135||0||0|
|Houston Astros||Brad Mills||162||76||86||0||0|
|Cleveland Indians||Manny Acta||162||69||93||0||0|
|Florida Marlins||Edwin Rodríguez||92||46||46||0||0|
|Arizona Diamondbacks||Kirk Gibson||83||34||49||0||0|
|Baltimore Orioles||Buck Showalter||57||34||23||0||0|
|Chicago Cubs||Mike Quade||37||24||13||0||0|
|Atlanta Braves||Fredi Gonzalez||0||0||0||0||0|
|Toronto Blue Jays||John Farrell||0||0||0||0||0|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||Don Mattingly||0||0||0||0||0|
|New York Mets||Terry Collins||0||0||0||0||0|
|Kansas City Royals||Ned Yost||0||0||0||0||0|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||Clint Hurdle||0||0||0||0||0|
|Seattle Mariners||Eric Wedge||0||0||0||0||0|
|Milwaukee Brewers||Ron Roenicke||0||0||0||0||0|
PS = Post Season appearance; WS = World Series victories