The Baseball Hall of Fame “Today’s Game Era” committee announced their ballot today for individuals to be considered for enshrinement in the 2019 class at Cooperstown. Named as one of the 10 nominees was former Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel.
Manuel served as manager of the Phillies from 2005 into the 2013 season. During that time, he guided the club to an overall 780-636 record, five NL East Division crowns, two National League pennants, and the 2008 World Series championship.
The Phillies were Manuel’s second big-league managerial stint. He had previously served as manager of the Cleveland Indians from 2000 into the 2002 season, compiling a 220-190 record. His 2001 Indians squad captured the American League Central Division crown.
That 2001 Cleveland squad was eliminated in five games by the Seattle Mariners after taking a 2-1 series lead. The Mariners tied that series, then won a dramatic Game 5 in Seattle behind the stellar pitching of Jamie Moyer, who ironically would become one of Manuel’s key starters during the 2008 championship run with the Phillies.
The Baseball Hall of Fame website page dedicated to the Today’s Game Era ballot describes Manuel’s career as follows:
Charlie Manuel managed for 12 seasons with the Indians and Phillies, winning 1,000 games. Manuel managed the Indians to the American League Central title in 2001 and the Phillies to National League East titles in five straight years from 2007-11, winning NL pennants in 2008 and 2009 and the World Series in 2008. In his 10 full seasons as a manager, Manuel led his team to a first or second place finish nine times. His .548 career winning percentage ranks 16th all-time among managers with at least 1,000 victories.
Manuel earned his big-league managerial opportunity thanks largely to his work as the Indians hitting instructor from 1994-99. During those years the Tribe, led by Manuel protege Jim Thome, paced the American League in runs scored three times and in home runs twice.
In 1999 under Manuel’s tutelage the Indians scored a franchise-record 1,009 runs. That team became the first in Major League Baseball in nearly a half-century to reach the 1,000 runs mark. He was then hired as the manager in Cleveland for the 2000 season.
Manuel was fired at mid-season of 2002 by Tribe management over a contract dispute. He was quickly scooped up by the Phillies organization as a special assistant to GM Ed Wade, and then hired as the manager to succeed Larry Bowa for the 2005 campaign.
His first Phillies squad missed the NL Wildcard by just a single game, and the 2006 team fell three games short after leading that NL Wildcard race with just a week left to play.
Coming out for the 2007 season, shortstop Jimmy Rollins proclaimed that the Phillies were the “team to beat” in the NL East despite the fact that the New York Mets were the division’s defending champions and a talented squad in their own right.
That 2007 Phillies team did indeed win the division over the Mets on the season’s final day after rallying from a seven-game deficit with just 17 to play. It was the first of five consecutive NL East Division crowns under Manuel.
Manuel was finally relieved of his managerial duties 120 games into the 2013 season with the club in fourth place at 53-67. Many felt he had been made a scapegoat for management’s failure to effectively transition the roster as the championship team of the 2007-11 era aged.
Manuel can be considered a longshot to actually be elected for enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame by the committee. He is one of just 64 managers in big-league history with 1,000 career victories, only 48 of whom, like him, also have a winning career managerial mark.
However, many of those ahead of him on the list have not been enshrined. Among those who have a winning record and who are either deceased or considered to be retired with their managerial wins in parentheses are: Lou Piniella (1,835), Jim Leyland (1,769), Ralph Houk (1,619), Davey Johnson (1,372), and Billy Martin (1,253).
Johnson and Piniella have both joined Manuel in being named to this current Today’s Game Era ballot for their work as managers.
Named to the ballot as players were Harold Baines, Albert Belle, Joe Carter, Will Clark, Orel Hershiser, and Lee Smith. George Steinbrenner was named for his work as the former owner of the New York Yankees and is the lone deceased candidate on the ballot.
Any candidate who receives votes on 75 percent of the ballots cast by the 16-member Today’s Game Era Committee will earn election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The results of that voting should be announced on December 9, 2018.
Should anyone be selected, they would be inducted in Cooperstown on July 21, 2019, along with electees who emerge from the 2019 Baseball Writers’ Association of America election, to be announced on January 22, 2019.
Whether or not Manuel is elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, his unforgettable contributions to the Phillies organization have already been recognized. In 2014 he became the 36th person enshrined on the Phillies Wall of Fame.
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