Phillies extend Manuel through 2011

December 10, 2008 6:46:33 PM PST
Winning the World Series was enough for the Philadelphia Phillies to want manager Charlie Manuel around a few more years. Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro rewarded Manuel on Tuesday and picked up the option for 2010 on his contract and added a guaranteed year for 2011 - basically giving the folksy manager a three-year deal. Manuel has won two straight NL East titles with the Phillies and led them this year to their first championship since 1980.

The 64-year-old Manuel hasn't had a losing record in four seasons with Philadelphia (354-294) and he has slowly won over the fickle Philly fans. He wasn't an instant hit when he replaced fan favorite Larry Bowa and was often second-guessed and criticized by media and fans. But Manuel heard chants of "Charlie! Charlie! from the delirious Philly crowd after the Phillies finished off Tampa Bay in five games to win the championship.

Manuel and Dallas Green (1980) are the only Phillies managers with World Series rings. Green is a special adviser to the GM.

Manuel's greatest professional triumph came with a touch of sadness. His mother, June Manuel, died during the NL championship series and Manuel placed a Phillies cap in his mother's casket.

"When someone asks me what I want to be known as, I want to be known as a winner," Manuel said during the World Series. "That kind of tells the whole story."

With Philadelphia's nucleus expected back, the Phillies have a chance to be the first repeat World Series champions since the New York Yankees won three in a row from 1998-2000. The Phillies seem poised to make another run without two pivotal free agents - 16-game winner Jamie Moyer and left fielder and slugger Pat Burrell.

Manuel has made more of his managerial career than he did as a player. He batted .198 in 242 career games with the Twins and Los Angeles Dodgers, then became a star slugger in Japan.

He had a 220-190 record in his first big league managerial stop with the Cleveland Indians, leading them to the AL Central championship in 2001.

But Manuel has really made his mark by calmly rallying the Phillies from September deficits to October play.

The Phillies overcame a seven-game deficit with 17 remaining and surpassed the New York Mets on the final day to capture their first NL East title in 14 years in 2007. They were swept by the Colorado Rockies in the first round.

This season, the Phillies trailed the Mets by 3½ games with 16 to play, but won 12 of the next 15 to clinch their second straight division title on the next-to-last day of the regular season.

Manuel hoisted the World Series trophy during Philadelphia's championship parade - the first for any Philly team since 1983. "It's like Christmas came two months early," he said. Now comes one heck of a reward for Manuel.


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