Thanks For The Memories, Chawlie…

chuck walking

by Vinny The Book

As a diehard Philly sports fan, the firing of Charlie Manuel is one of the hardest things to stomach – even more so than realizing a girl you are dating thinks Mark Sanchez is “cute.”

Not only did I love and respect him for his leadership qualities, hard-nosed demeanor, and (of course) winning percentage, but when I think back to our magnificent run from 2007-2011, I remember Harry Kalas, Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, and Brad Lidge…..all which are ghosts of Christmas Past now in Citizens Bank Park.  There was one constant that I thought would always be there after we lost HK —- Ol’ Chawlie.

To give you a bit of background into what sort of person Charlie Manuel was — here is a snippet from his Wikipedia page that I love:

Playing for the Pacific League’s Kintetsu Buffaloes, Manuel hit 25 home runs in the first eight weeks of the 1979 season. He was on pace to break the Japanese record of 16 home runs in a month.

At a game against the Lotte Orions on June 19, 1979, he was beaned by a pitch from Soroku Yagisawa, effectively stopping Manuel from taking that record. The pitch broke Manuel’s jaw in six places. He wore a dental bridge as a result of an earlier accident in the minor leagues. There was nothing for doctors to wire together, so they inserted three metal plates in his head and removed nerves from his face. Manuel was discharged from the hospital after six weeks and immediately began playing again, against the advice of doctors and worried family.

The Buffaloes were struggling to stay in the Pacific League lead and had never won a pennant. To protect his jaw, Manuel wore a helmet equipped with a football facemask. He wore the helmet for the first few games but stopped using it because it obscured his vision at the plate. He finished the 1979 season with 37 home runs to win the home run title. He led Kintetsu to its first pennant win. He was voted the Most Valuable Player, the first American to receive the honor since 1964, hitting .324 with 37 home runs and 94 RBI.

Did Charlie deserve to go?  Or was he a scapegoat for Ruben Amaro?

We used to sit around and talk about what a genius Ruben was.  How he orchestrated one of the greatest lineups the Phils had ever put on the diamond.  Now to say he overextended himself on past-their-prime players is like saying I sort of like pussy.

Is it Charlie’s fault that the Phils have the worst ERA in the entire league?  With a bullpen that has allowed the most runs in the entire league?  A team that has given up 552 runs in 120 games (4.6 per game)  - the worst in the league?

You can get thru bad pitching, but only if you hit. And the Phils are 2nd worst in run differential only to the Miami Marlins who I’m pretty sure are fielding at least half of the Hialeah Little League team.  Oh, and by the way…they have been outscored by 96 runs.  The Marlins? 98.

Is it his fault that Ryan Howard earns $20 million this year and has hit 8 homers in 80 games?  Or that the team only has one player with more than 50 RBI thru 120 games (Dom Brown)?  We rank 25th in OBP and RBI as a team….and our offense has seen the second fewest pitches in all of baseball, about 2,700 fewer than the Red Sox. That’s 22.5 pitches per game.

It’s even more interesting that the Phils allowed Charlie to win his 1,000th game as a manager on Monday in the midst of a horrific slide after the All-Star break before making this decision.  That seems less of a gesture to Charlie to me as it does more so a way for the Phils to capitalize off the memorabilia that will become available as a result of that historic event.

Charlie — thank you sir for bringing the city of Philadelphia back to glory after a dry spell of 25 years.  We love you and wish you the best…

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