For often than not, Charlie Manuel had the answers for struggling batters

Charlie Manuel always had the answers when hitting questions arose. Credit: Getty Images
Charlie Manuel always had the answers when hitting questions arose. Credit: Getty Images

One of the familiar lines from Charlie Manuel’s detractors during his nine-year run as Phillies manager was, “if he is such a hitting guru, why aren’t the Phillies hitting better?”

Well, you have to listen to Manuel and apply what he says since the most successful manager in the Phillies history knows hitting.

Five years ago, my then nine-year old daughter was having some issues catching up with the heat in her new level of softball. I explained the situation to Manuel after he addressed the media before a game and asked for advice. He smiled while saying this was right in his wheel-house.

“Your daughter bats left-handed just like I did,” Manuel said. “Alright. Tell her I want her to do what I did when I batted against Nolan Ryan. I want her to cheat. What I mean is that I want her to drop her bat into the zone just as the pitcher is winding up. Then I want her to flick her bat at the ball and hit it the other way, just like Ichico (Suzuki) and she’ll be fine.”

Manuel was right. His 60-second tutorial was exactly what Jillian needed as she hit one ball after another over the shortstop’s head.

“If they’re throwing hard, let them do most of the work for you,” Manuel said. “You’ll see.”

A few weeks later Manuel asked how my daughter was hitting. I told him that she was doing fine.

“I knew it,” Manuel said. “I was just checking.”

Not every manager would be so keen on offering such advice or care about the pupil he never met. But Manuel is a people person and not only does he know a lot about hitting, he loves to talk about the sweet science.

One of the highlights over the years of covering Manuel was listening to him wax about all that he experienced during his career. Manuel would ramble on about his experiences in the minors, his period when he dominated in Japan or when he managed in Cleveland.

“I remember one time when I was with the Indians and Manny (Ramirez) lost his luggage,” Manuel said. “In that luggage were a couple of really big checks he didn’t care about that. What did he care about? Some necklaces he had in there. But that was Manny for you.”

 Part of what made Manuel so special was his ability to connect with players. It didn’t matter if you were an enigmatic legend like Ramirez or if you were a role-player, you loved to play for Manuel, who always had his players’ backs. The only Phillie to ever disrespect Manuel during his lengthy run in Philadelphia was Jonathan Papelbon, who expressed that the team needed changes, top to bottom, after the Phillies lost eight in a row last month.

“My favorite manager I ever played for was Charlie,” former Phillies starter Jon Lieber said. “I played for a lot of different managers, including Joe Torre and Charlie was hands down the best. We could get our butts kicked and lose 20-0 and he would come by your locker, pat you on the back and say, ‘it’s alright, we’ll get ‘em tomorrow.’ He always knew what to say.”

Just ask a nine-year old girl. Charlie had the solution for her and for most of his memorable era in Philadelphia.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

US military tried, but failed to rescue journalist…

The U.S. military earlier this year tried to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages held in Syria ,but failed to find the captives.

National

Fate of captured beluga whales in hands of…

A Georgia aquarium went to court on Wednesday seeking federal permission to bring 18 captured beluga whales to the United States from Russia.

Local

After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.

Local

'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

And then there were six. It was a big night on stage as the Top 6 got to dance with each other, All-star partners and perform a solo routine.

Going Out

5 things to do in NYC this weekend…

FILM Lebowski Fest Aug. 22-23, 8 p.m. Various locations, Manhattan $20-$30, www.lebowskifest.com The Dude abides — for 48 hours to celebrate the 1998 Coen brothers classic.…

Television

'Doctor Who' personality profile: the 4 Doctors

When the time comes for a new Doctor, there's always some anxiety over the big question: Who will he be? The series owes its longevity…

Television

Billy Crystal to commemorate late actor Robin Williams…

  Comedian Billy Crystal will pay tribute to late actor Robin Williams at television's Primetime Emmy Awards on Aug. 25, the show's organizers said on…

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

NFL

Jalen Saunders still unsure what caused car accident…

Jets rookie wide receiver Jalen Saunders spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since his car accident, but he didn't say a whole lot.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Wellbeing

Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…

Wellbeing

Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…