Charlie Manuel has been hired as the 51st manager in Phillies history, Vice President & General Manager Ed Wade announced today. Manuel signed a three-year contract. Manuel replaces Larry Bowa who was fired the day prior to the end of the 2004 season, after the Phillies failed to reach the playoffs for yet another year.
Manuel was chosen to manage the Phillies following an extensive hunt for a manager that also included Don Baylor, Buddy Bell, former Phillies manager Jim Fregosi, former Pirates manager Jim Leyland, Grady Little, Terry Pendleton and John Russell. Speculation has long centered on Manuel as a replacement for Bowa based on his prior relationship with Phillies all-star first baseman Jim Thome who was traded to Philadelphia prior to the 2003 season. Manuel had served as Thome's manager in Cleveland.
Manuel, 60, has spent the past two seasons in the Phillies organization as Special Assistant to the General Manager. He has served as both an instructor and scout at the major and minor league levels.
"We had eight outstanding candidates and after a thorough review of each, we've chosen Charlie Manuel because he is a winning, championship-caliber manager," Wade said. "Charlie has the great ability to communicate with his players and build relationships with them, yet he demands excellence."
"Having Charlie in the organization the past two years has been a huge plus," said Wade. "His familiarity with our players and the entire organization is an advantage. We want to get to the World Series and believe Charlie will help us get there. No one person can make that happen, but Charlie brings the ingredients that automatically make us better."
Prior to joining the Phillies, Manuel managed the Indians for two and a half seasons (2000-02). In his rookie year as a major league manager, he led Cleveland to a 90-72 record. The following season, Cleveland went 91-71 and won the Central Division championship. Manuel joined Hall of Famer Tris Speaker as the only managers in Cleveland history to make the post-season in their second season. In 2002, he was named to the American League All-Star coaching staff by Yankees manager Joe Torre.
Among active managers with at least 400 games managed, Manuel's winning percentage (220-191, .535) is fourth-best, behind Atlanta's Bobby Cox (.567), LA's Jim Tracy (.549) and Chicago's Dusty Baker (.541).
Manuel had two separate stints as Cleveland's hitting coach (1988-89, 1994-99). Under his tutelage, the Indians led the American League in runs three times (1994-95, 99) 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 AL in home runs in 1994 and 1995.
As a minor league manager for nine years in the Twins' (1983-87) and Indians' (1990-93) farm systems, Manuel compiled a 610-588 (.509) record, winning the Pacific Coast League and International League championships in his final two seasons (1992-93). He was twice named Manager of the Year (1984, 92) and managed the IL All-Star team in 1993.
A 41-year veteran of professional baseball, including several successful years in Japan, Manuel was originally signed by Minnesota as an outfielder in 1963. He made his major league debut in 1969 and appeared in 242 games through the 1975 season for both the Twins and Dodgers. In 1969 and 1970, he appeared in the American League Championship Series with the Twins.
Manuel's next six seasons were spent in Japan. In 1977, he hit .316 with 42 home runs and 97 RBI, helping Yakult reach second place for the first time in franchise history. In 1978, he hit .312 with 39 homers and 103 RBI, powering the Swallows to their first pennant and the Japan Series championship. In 1979, Manuel became the first American to be named the Pacific League MVP after hitting .324 with 37 home runs and 94 RBI. In 1980, he set a then-record for most home runs by an American with 48 and led the league with 129 RBI in only 118 games. Manuel finished his successful run in Japan with a .303 career average, 189 home runs and 491 RBI.