If you told someone that Charlie Manuel would manage the most games in Philadelphia Phillies history when he signed on with the club prior to the 2005 season, many fans would have laughed.
Manuel will manage his 1,332nd game when the Phillies face the Arizona Diamondbacks Thursday night. Manuel, who has the most wins in Phillies managerial history with 743, passes Gene Mauch for most games as Phils skipper.
When the Phillies decided against hiring World Series winner Jim Leyland and selected Manuel, some pundits and many fans questioned the decision.
"But you look at what Charlie has done with the franchise," MLB analyst Mitch Williams said. "He's been incredibly successful. He deserves all the credit for the Phillies run."
This is the greatest era in the Phillies' 130-year history. Manuel has won a World Series, taken two National League pennants and has a .559 winning percentage as the Philadelphia manager.
"The people who think Charlie isn't a great manager don't understand baseball," former Mets skipper Jerry Manuel said. "Charlie is smart and slick as a fox. He's one of the best baseball men you'll ever meet."
Manuel is the ultimate player's manager. "He has your back," Jimmy Rollins said. "He's incredibly supportive. You want to go out and play as hard as you can for him."
But Manuel is a lame duck manager. Despite having the best record of any manager in the club's history, Manuel's contract expires at the end of the season and there is no word on his future.
"It'll be interesting to see what happens," a NL scout said. "So many people see Ryne Sandberg taking over but who knows what will happen? A lot depends on what happens with the Phillies this season. But whatever happens, you have to give Manuel a lot of credit for the Phillies success."
Charlie Manuel's record as Phillies manager: 743-588, .559 winning percentage
Jim Leyland's record as Tigers manager: 626-539, 537 winning percentage
Gene Mauch's record as Phillies manager: 646-684, .486 winning percentage