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How Other Recent Phils Managers Won Their First Game

Ryne Sandberg won his first game today as Phillies manager on a pretty forgettable error by the shortstop with the bases loaded in the ninth inning. Here is how some of the other recent Phils managers picked up their first wins.


Charlie Manuel

Charlie won the first game he managed, an 8-4 romp over the Washington Nationals on April 4, 2005 behind Jon Lieber. Lieber gave up ten hits and one walk in five and two thirds pitched but bested Livan Hernandez for the win, who got chased after four and two thirds after he gave up seven earned. Manuel finished with a 780-638 mark as the Phillies skipper, guiding the club to their first postseason since 1993 in 2007. Manuel finished his run with the Phils as the all-time winningest manager in club history and one of two to win a World Series title.

Box Score

Starting Line-Up: Rollins, Polanco, Abreu, Thome, Burrell, Lofton, Bell, Lieberthal, Lieber

Pitchers Used: Lieber, Cormier, Madson, Worrell, Wagner


Gary Varsho

Who was the last manager before Charlie Manuel? If you answered “Bowa”, you’re actually wrong. Varsho was the interim manager of the Phillies for the final two games of the 2004 season after the club fired Bowa. Varsho was a career .244 Major League hitter across parts of eight seasons, including a .252/.310/.282 line in 113 PA with the Phillies in 1995. Varsho won his second of two games as a Major League manager, a 10-4 win over the Marlins. Jimmy Rollins, Todd Pratt, and Bobby Abreu all homered to set Varsho’s career MLB managerial record to 1-1.

Box Score

Starting Line-Up: Rollins, Polanco, Abreu, Thome, Bell, Michaels, Burrell, Pratt, Myers

Pitchers Used: Myers, Madson, Cormier, Worrell, Wagner


Larry Bowa

Bowa inherited a team that finished just 65-97 in 2000 and turned them into a surprise playoff contender in 2001. Bowa started his run as Phillies skipper with a 3-0 series sweep of the Marlins in the suburbs of Miami. Game One was won in 13 innings when reliever Amaury Telamaco scored on a Doug Glanville force out to second base. Telamaco would earn the win by retiring three out of the four Marlins he faced in the bottom half of the 13th.

For his 86-76 record in 2001, Bowa won NL Manager of the Year honors. Bowa stuck with the Phillies for just under four seasons, never making the playoffs but finishing with a 337-308 record.

Box Score

Starting Line-Up: Glanville, Rollins, Abreu, Rolen, Burrell, Lee, Lieberthal, Anderson, Daal

Pitchers Used: Daal, Padilla, Botallico, Oropesa, Gomes, Mesa, Telamaco


Terry Francona

At age 38, Francona was among the youngest managers in Major League Baseball in 1997. Francona took over a 67-95 club that was littered with former All-Stars from the late 80’s, including Lenny Dykstra, Sid Fernandez, Benito Santiago, and Gregg Jeffries and overhauled with the finest of what Philly had on the farm. The plan didn’t quite work, however, as the farm’s finest improved by just one win from 1996 to Francona’s 1997. Yet, the team did it with a younger, cheaper roster so there was room for hope.

Francona won the first game he managed, a 3-0 win over the Dodgers at Dodgers Stadium. Curt Schilling pitched eight dominant innings, striking out 11 while walking only two and giving up just three hits. Ricky Botallico closed it out for the save with a perfect ninth. Francona topped out at 77 wins with the Phillies in 1999 and was let go after the 2000 campaign with a cumulative record of 285-363. He would return to baseball as a manager in 2004, leading the Red Sox to a championship in his first season.

Box Score

Starting Line-Up: Morandini, Stocker, Jefferies, Tartabull, Brogna, Rolen, Lieberthal, Magee Jr., Schilling

Pitchers Used: Schilling, Bottalico


Jim Fregosi

After 18 seasons of being a successful Major Leaguer, including six All-Star appearances, Fregosi spent parts of seven seasons leading the Angels and White Sox as their manager. Fregosi compiled a 430-474 record with those clubs before taking a few years off from managing. After a 4-9 start for the Phils in 1991, Fregosi took the reigns of the club in game 14. It wouldn’t be until Game 16 when Fregosi would get his first win: a 5-3 win over the Mets in a game where Fregosi’s starting pitcher, Pat Combs, did not record an out. Fregosi would only lead the club to one year in which they were over .500 and that, of course, was 1993 when they went 97-65 and won the NL Pennant.

Box Score

Starting Line-Up: Dykstra, Morandini, Kruk, Jordan, V. Hayes, Daulton, C. Hayes, Booker, Combs

Pitchers Used: Combs, Greene, Boever, McDowell, Mitch Williams


Nick Leyva

Leyva was a career .267 minor league hitter who stalled out in Double-A but came to the Phillies after a run managing the Cardinals Double-A squad and coaching first for the NL Pennant-winning 1985 and 1987 Cardinals squads. Leyva’s first win came in his second game as skipper, winning a 12-4 laugher over the Don Zimmer-led Cubs. Mike Maddux picked up a two-hit, four-inning save in relief of Ken Howell, after the Phillies stuck Maddux’s brother Greg Maddux with six runs, five earned in just three and two thirds.

Levya would be fired after 13 games in 1991 and finished with a 148-189 record, with no winning seasons or playoff appearances.

Box Score

Starting Line-Up: Dernier, Herr, V. Hayes, Schmidt, James, Jones, Daulton, Thon, Howell

Pitchers Used: Howell, Maddux

I wonder whatever happened to that Greg Maddux guy, anyways…

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