While they won’t have the chance to manage any Philadelphia Phillies prospects, Jim Thome and Charlie Manuel, two Phillies Wall of Famers, will reunite on the coaching staff of the American League for the MLB All-Star Futures Game this July.
With the game in Cleveland, Thome, who spent parts of 13 seasons as a member of the Indians, has been tabbed to manage the game, which will take place on Sunday July 7. Now 48, Thome has picked Manuel, who managed him both in Cleveland and Philadelphia, to be his bench coach, according to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Manuel, 75, inspired Thome’s famous bat point after noticing Thome and his teammates watching “The Natural” before a game he was managing at Triple-A. No matter where Thome’s career took him, he always seemed to circle back to Manuel, who has been a father like figure to him.
Manuel was Thome’s hitting coach with the Cleveland Indians from 1994-1999, before becoming the Indians manager from 2000-2002. Thome signed a six-year/$85 million deal with the Phillies as a free-agent ahead of the 2003 season. Manuel joined the organization that same offseason as a special adviser to then-general manager Ed Wade.
After the Phillies fired Larry Bowa as manager in the final week of the 2004 season, Manuel was picked as the next Phillies manager. Manuel would manage Thome for parts of the 2005 season and then again in a brief return to Philadelphia by Thome in 2012. In between those two stints, Manuel became the winningest manager in Phillies history. Manuel guided the Phillies to five consecutive National League East titles, two National League pennants and a World Series title between 2007 and 2011. Thome wasn’t a part of any of those teams, but it’s widely acknowledged that his decision to sign with the club ahead of the 2003 season ushered in a winning culture in Philadelphia.
Thome was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame last August, just over six years since he and Manuel last shared a dugout together in Philadelphia. Thome currently works as a studio analyst for MLB Network and is a special assistant to the general manager for the White Sox, who he played for from 2006 until August of 2009. Manuel hasn’t managed since the Phillies fired him in August of 2013, but he remains with the Phillies as a special adviser to general manager Matt Klentak.
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