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Charles Fuqua Manuel, Jr. (born January 4, 1944 in Northfork, West Virginiamarker) is the current manager of the Philadelphia Phillies of Major League Baseball. His team won the 2008 World Series in five games over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Early life

Although he was born in West Virginia, his family was actually living in Virginia at that time, and he lived in Virginia throughout his childhood. He was born in a automobile while his mother, June, was visiting her mother. His father, Charles Sr., was a Pentecostal preacher, and the family lived in Wythemarker and Grayson Countiesmarker until they settled in Buena Vistamarker when Charlie, the third of 11 children and the oldest son, was 12.

He became a four-sport star at Parry McCluer High Schoolmarker in Buena Vista, playing baseball, American football, basketball and track and field and captaining the baseball and basketball teams. His first love was basketball and he had received scholarship offers in that sport, but his plans and his life would dramatically change just before his high school graduation.

In April 1963, his father, who had been ill with diabetes and heart problems, committed suicide, leaving behind a suicide note asking that Charlie, who was already married with a child, take care of his mother and siblings. He turned down his basketball scholarship offers, including one to the University of Pennsylvania, to consider offers from the Pittsburgh Pirates, Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins, and New York Yankees, ultimately signing with the Twins out of high school in for $20,000.

Playing career

Major league career

Manuel played from to with the Minnesota Twins and in and with the Los Angeles Dodgers, primarily as a pinch-hitter and left fielder.

Japanese professional league

Manuel's baseball career took off when he left the United States to play in Japan. Wildly popular for his tenacious style of play and his power-hitting abilities, Manuel was dubbed "Aka-Oni" (The Red Devil) by fans and teammates.

In , he hit .316 with 42 home runs and 97 runs batted in, helping the Central League's Yakult Swallows reach second place for the first time in franchise history. In , he hit .312 with 39 homers and 103 RBI, powering the Swallows to their first pennant and the Japan Championship Series. In , playing for the Pacific League's Kintetsu Buffaloes, Manuel became the first American to be named the Pacific League MVP after hitting .324 with 37 home runs and 94 RBI. A year later, Manuel set the record for most home runs by an American with 48 and led the league with 129 RBI in only 118 games, cut short when he was hit in the face by a pitch. In , he returned to the Yakult Swallows.

Manuel finished his successful run in Japan with a .303 career average, 189 home runs and 491 RBI. He was considered one of the best imported baseball players to Japan in those days, along with brothers Leron and Leon Lee and Randy Bass.

During his time in Japan, Manuel learned to speak Japanese. This has become an asset, as he has been able to communicate with players such as So Taguchi and Tadahito Iguchi.

"Headgeared Helmet"

At a game against the Lotte Orions on June 19, 1979, he was hit in the face by a pitch from Soroku Yagisawa. The pitch crushed his jaw, and he was told by his doctor that he needed at least two months to recover. However, he returned to the game after being sidelined for only 14 games, as the Buffaloes were struggling to win the first-half season championship. To protect his bruised jaw, Manuel wore a helmet equipped with a American football facemask. The team went on to win the first-half championship and eventually the pennant for the whole season.

Managing career

Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians minor league manager

Ultimately, injuries, including the beaning in Japan, cut Manuel's playing days short. He returned to the United States to work as a scout for the Minnesota Twins organization before turning to coaching. As a minor league manager for nine years in the Twins' ( – ) and Cleveland Indians' ( – ) farm systems, Manuel compiled a 610–588 (.509) record, winning the Pacific Coast League and International League championships in his final two seasons ( –1993). He was named Manager of the Year three times ( , 1992, ) and managed the IL All-Star team in 1993.

Cleveland Indians manager

Manuel returned to the Majors in 1988 as the Indians' hitting coach ( – , – ), where under his tutelage, the Tribe led the American League in runs three times (1994– , 1999) and set a franchise record in 1999 with 1,009 runs, becoming the first team to score 1,000 runs since the 1950 Boston Red Sox. The club also led the league in home runs in 1994 and 1995. From to , he served as the Indians' manager, leading the team to the American League Central Division title in .

He was fired as manager of the Cleveland Indians on July 12, 2002 over a contract dispute.

Philadelphia Phillies manager

Shortly after he was fired as manager for the Cleveland Indians, Manuel was hired by the Phillies as special assistant to the general manager. After the season, Manuel was hired as the club's 51st manager, replacing Larry Bowa. In his first season, Manuel and the Phillies went 88–74, only one game back of the Wild Card.

In , Manuel and the Phillies finished just short of the playoffs once again, this time three games back of the wild card. However, the season did have certain positives that boded well for next season. Second-year slugger Ryan Howard hit a franchise record 58 home runs, second baseman Chase Utley was named a starter in the 2006 MLB All-Star Game, and rookie pitcher Cole Hamels showed progress and the potential that he could one day become the club's ace.

After starting the season with a 4–11 record, Manuel's Phillies had to battle countless injuries all season, including losing newly acquired pitcher Freddy García for the season. Howard, Utley, and Hamels also missed significant playing time. Hamels led the pitching staff with a 15–5 record, while Jimmy Rollins had a huge season, including a MLB record for at-bats in a season with 716 through all 162 games played. In a dramatic finale to the season, the Phillies captured the National League East title from the collapsing Mets, but were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Colorado Rockies.

Manuel finished second in balloting for the National League Manager of the Year Award for 2007.

On October 29, Charlie Manuel guided the 2008 Phillies to their second world title. It was his first World Series ring after years of close calls (including the 1997 Cleveland Indians). He was voted by fans as "This Year in Baseball Awards" Manager of the Year (for all of MLB). Manuel reached a contract agreement with the Phils on December 9, 2008 that will keep him with the team through the 2011 season. On October 21, 2009, Manuel became the first manager in franchise history to lead the Phillies to two consecutive World Series appearances. It was the first time a National League team won back-to-back pennants since the 1995–96 Atlanta Braves. During the 2009 World Series, Manuel was criticized for not pitching Cliff Lee in Game 4, a game the Phillies eventually lost. He defended his decision by noting that Lee had never pitched on three days' rest before. Manuel finished sixth in balloting for the 2009 National League Manager of the Year Award.

Howard Eskin confrontation

During the Phillies' post-game press conference following the team's 8–1 loss to the New York Mets on April 17, 2007, Philadelphia radio personality Howard Eskin repeatedly questioned Manuel why he did not challenge his players and said he thinks Charlie does not get angry with his players, to which the manager said he may get angry more than he thinks with his players and invited Eskin to his office so that he can show how angry he can be. Eskin, a controversial afternoon drive host on local sports-talk station WIP-610, had criticized Manuel since the manager's hiring three years earlier.

Personal life

Manuel has survived a heart attack, quadruple bypass surgery and cancer. During his time with the Indians, he worked in the dugout with a colostomy bag beneath his jacket. Manuel's mother June died October 10, 2008, at age 87 in Buena Vista, Virginia. She had suffered a heart attack earlier in the week. Because of the Phillies' 2008 NLCS five-game win, he was able to attend his mother's funeral. He currently has a fiancée named Missy.

See also



References

  1. http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/columns/story?columnist=wojciechowski_gene&id=3672097&sportCat=mlb
  2. http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_ylt=AnIJf9eExLhzjBjVVEIdC9MRvLYF?slug=jp-leegamefour110209&prov=yhoo&type=lgns
  3. http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/20081001_Burrell_part_of_Phils_big_inning.html


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