Charlie Manuel: Best Manager In Phillies History? – Phillies Nation

Charlie Manuel: Best Manager In Phillies History?


During the postseason, I remarked that Charlie Manuel might be the Phillies greatest manager ever. Haste aside, we can all agree that Manuel is one of the franchise’s best skippers. The track record solidifies that. But let’s dig deeper:

All-time managerial records (percentages above .525, minimum 100 games):
Arthur Irwin – 149-110 – .575
Dallas Green – 169-130 – .565 (1 World Series)
Pat Moran – 323-257 – .557 (1 NL pennant)
Bill Shettsline – 367-303 – .548
Charlie Manuel – 354-294 – .546 (1 World Series)
Danny Ozark – 594-510 – .538
Pat Corrales – 132-115 – .534
Harry Wright – 636-566 – .529
Billy Murray – 240-214 – .529

Irwin managed between 1894 and 1895, and the Phils lost out on the National League title both years. … Green managed the 1980 champions and the 1981 team, which coasted out to a first-half division crown. His core included Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton and Greg Luzinski in their primes. … Moran managed the 1915 NL champs, and had a nice run with Gavvy Cravath and the ridiculously successful Grover Cleveland Alexander. … Shettsline had two great years and two horrible years in the 1800s. … Ozark guided the young Phils through the dynasty days of the 1970s. … Corrales had the dynasty at the end, but Paul Owens took them over to win the NL in 1983. … Wright had a bunch of pretty good seasons early in franchise history, but never took first place. … Murray had two good seasons, but nothing great.

Then there’s Manuel. All four seasons have been winning seasons, doing it sometimes with pretty bad pitching, sometimes with spotty hitting. Still, he has the core of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Pat Burrell, Cole Hamels and Brett Myers, a core that arguably trumps the late-70s core of Schmidt, Luzinski, Garry Maddox, Larry Bowa, Carlton and Larry Christenson. So while Manuel has had to manage through troubles, he’s had the benefit of maybe the best pure team in franchise history.

I can’t break down each manager’s style, because I just don’t know. We do know Green was a bit of a rough one, especially as some members of the 1980 Phils said they won in spite of him. Conversely, the 2008 Phils in no way won in spite of Manuel — from what we saw, Manuel was like a father to the team.

As a team leader, role model and captain, Manuel might fit the bill better than any skipper in team history. As a tactician, he made more correct decisions in 2008, though he has a history of sticking a little too much to conviction. Still, the right moves he made in the postseason (completely outweighing the wrong moves) turn the case back in his favor.

Most older fans like to throw Green at the top of the heap, but I once wrote — and I’ll stand by it again — that Green is overrated. Especially if the spite admissions are true. He inherited a three-time division champ and left with a third place team. To me, Ozark was a much better manager — someone who molded the young Phils into a winner. Green just got them over the hump.

Manuel did both. He molded a young team (only Burrell, Rollins, Myers and Ryan Madson were regulars on the 2004 Phils), and got them over the hump after a few optimistic seasons. Moran — maybe the best case against Manuel — took a young team to the World Series, but couldn’t finish the job. After two more seasons of missed opportunities, his 1918 Phils couldn’t break .500. Mainly, that was because Alexander had left for Chicago.

So I’d say right now that yes, Manuel is the greatest manager in franchise history. But the next year or two will truly decide his fate. If he can guide this team — with younger players Lou Marson, Carlos Carrasco and Jason Donald possibly — to the postseason or better again, he gets my unquestioned vote. If he stumbles, I’d put Ozark at the top.



  1. Kyle

    November 24, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    Anyone know when Utley will have his surgery? Just want to know so I can find out what the expected return will be.

  2. RichieAllen

    November 24, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    Its funny ,,,if you would have asked 2 years ago..almost everyone wanted Jim Leyland to come here(including me).Nobody wanted Charlie to stay.
    Now,here we are with Charlie as candidate for #1 of all time.

    I have to say,it took a while for Charlie’s style to show itself as successful.He was easy to second-guess when it came to leaving pitchers in too long.I also thought he was crazy for the way he let a lot of different players get a chance to play..But last year,everything came together for him.

    Now, he’s a loveable uncle type .Nobody wants him to leave,The awe-shucks stuff is great at the end of game interview.Who knows if he is the best, but what a character.

    I personally think he instilled the winning attitude in these guys…They respond to him as their leader.If we keep this core together who knows how many games he can win.I think he’s great.

  3. Pat

    November 24, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    Maybe Manuel for overall, but what about the best single season managing job?

    A) Manuel in 2008… World Series Title
    B) Dallas Green in 1980… World Series Title
    C) Jim Fregosi in 1993… From Last Place in Division to World Series
    D) Eddie Sawyer in 1950… Whiz Kids Manager, lead them to World Series

  4. Jamie

    November 24, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    Earlier in the year, I didn’t think Manuel would be “the” greatest of all time, but now that he’s got the title, I think it seems fit. You can make an argument for some others, most notably Dallas Green, but he only one once, and was with the Phils short term. Manuel has given us winners all four seasons, with us progressively getting better. At this point, I think he edges out Green in my opinion.

  5. Don M

    November 24, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Billy Murray was HILARIOUS in Caddyshack

  6. metsrule

    November 24, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    One thing I would like to see, is the phillies give jimmy rollins a raise. If you are going to pay Fucal 12 million a year and Renteria 9million. rollins is really underpayed.

  7. Griffin

    November 24, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    The most underpaid SS in baseball is Reyes, that contract is a joke. The Phils will give Rollins his raise when Omar decides to re-do that Reyes contract, which will never happen.

  8. Griffin

    November 24, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    The SF Giants just gave Edgar Renteria 2 years 18 million dollars. He’s a Type A free agent as well. So much for the economy weighing down MLB contracts.

  9. Chris.I

    November 24, 2008 at 7:37 pm just announced that the Renteria deal was false

  10. Manny

    November 24, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    Renteria has been a stellar SS in the National League… he’s a gold glove player, several times All-Star.. I think that’s a decent deal, though I believe he was looking for more than 2 years since he’s getting kinda old…

  11. Manny

    November 24, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    Oh, nevermind then…

  12. Griffin

    November 24, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    Renteria is shot, he can’t field anymore and he was dreadful at the plate last year. I’d muh rather have Furcal or even Orlando Cabrera.

  13. Manny

    November 24, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    I’ve been following Renteria since he started playing for the Marlins… and he’s very, very good. Look at his career stats… His two sub-par years were in the American League (one year with Boston and one with Detroit)… in the National League, he is amazing though… suits his style much better. In Atlanta, just in 2007, he had one of the best numbers in the league.

  14. Griffin

    November 24, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    Renteria WAS a very good player. His range has deteriorated to the point where he’s no longer an asset in the field. At this point in his career, he’s a mediocre player, in my opinion.
    But, we don’t have to worry about SS for a long time.

  15. Lloyd K. Fox

    November 25, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    Better than Schmidt, Luzinski and Carlton in their prime???? Maybe someday, But Rollins, Utley and Hamels are nowhere near those guys now. Schmidt has 1 MVP more than the Phillies team and Carlton has 4 more Cy Young awards than the team. And don’t forget to throw in Pete Rose to cancel out Ryan Howard.

  16. MikeB

    November 27, 2008 at 4:16 am

    You would have to say that Utley is right up there with those Phillies greats of the past. His bad hip affected his swing and kept his production down last year. After he fully recovers from his hip surgery next year and gets back into the swing of things, I predict that he will put up numbers like he did last April and May.

  17. Keith

    November 27, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    Tim Malcom says:”As a team leader, role model and captain, Manuel might fit the bill better than any skipper in team history” I couldn’t agree more. Todays players require a different style of managing and Charlie fits that style perfectly. As for being the greatest, each of the managers listed has to be looked at with consideration to all the variables. They all were good, but great…? Bobby Cox is great, Joe Torre is great, Tommy Lasorda, you get the idea. A manager can’t be “great” with only 4 seasons of work.

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