Shining a Light on Manuel

Let there be light.

This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.

Since my good friend, Andy, here at Philliesmania.com has poetically dubbed me KC Sunshine I thought it only fair to let it shine.  We are a package deal.  Sunshine is like Ben Francisco to my Cliff Lee.  Ouch, too soon?

Anyways, it’s got something to say.  It is time to shed some light on different aspects of the Phillies.  And throughout the rest of Spring Training I will take a look and break down the Phightins leading up to the big day.

Today’s Sunshine Spotlight is on the boss, the leader, good old country boy himself Charlie Manuel.  It is impossible to look at a team without first taking a peak at their fearless leader.

Manuel is an old school dude.  He has played in the Majors but his real success came during his time in the Central and Pacific Leagues of Japan.  He would go on to be one of the best foreign players Japan has ever seen.   In 1979 he was awarded the MVP, the first American to win in 15 years, hitting .324 with 37 homes runs and 94 RBIs.

During his time in Japan he hit 189 homers, played for three different teams, once used a football facemask attached to his helmet for hitting, and had three metal plates inserted in his head after he was beaned during the ’79 season.  Yes, the season he won the MVP.  Dude’s got heart.

After Japan Manuel came back to the states and continued with that success coaching in the minor league systems of the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians.  He won over 50% of his games coached, was named Manager of the Year three times and coached the IL All-Star game in 1993.  There was a 1993 Phillies reference I wanted to make there but for some reason my fingers won’t let me type it.  Nice job Mr. Carter.

Since arriving in Philly, Manuel has been winning.  But with no World Series titles, he wasn’t exactly winning over hearts.  The city of Brotherly has been waiting, and not very patiently I might add, for a championship.  And not just a baseball one.  The city hasn’t seen one of their four major sports teams win a title since the 76ers won the NBA championship in 1983.

Well jump to current day and this Spring Training.  Manuel has led the Phillies to three consecutive NL East crowns, two NL pennants and two straight World Series appearances.  And as I am sure you all know, World Series Champions in 2008.  Thanks to the Nutrisystem Meal Plan, he is now 56 pounds and leading the team in sliding drills.  Ha, ok no sliding for Charlie but still he is looking good and feeling good.

But don’t worry; Manuel is the same old school kind of guy, keeping it simple.  Losing weight was for the offseason.  For this season?

“Same old thing — get to the World Series and win, that’s our goal.”

Follow me on Twitter @kierancarobine

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