PHILADELPHIA -- Charlie Manuel, who led the Phillies to the 2008 World Series championship amidst a run of five division titles, was replaced as the team's manager Friday by Ryne Sandberg, who took the position on an interim basis.
Manuel won his 1,000th career game as a big league manager Monday in Atlanta, but this season has been a disappointment.
"I did not resign and I did not quit," Manuel said at a news conference at Citizens Bank Park. "I think it was an agreement."
Manuel, 69, was in the final year of his contract, and it had been expected that the Phillies would make a change following the season. It seems the team's freefall in the National League East standings -- the Phillies have lost 19 of their past 23 games -- accelerated that timetable.
Manuel has been asked to remain with the organization. He said he would take some time to consider the offer.
The Phillies went 780-636 (.551) under Manuel, who led the club to more wins than any other manager in franchise history. From 2007-11, the club won five consecutive National League East Division titles, two NL pennants and the 2008 World Series championship. Also in that time frame, the Phillies posted the best record in the NL (473-337) and second-best record in Major League Baseball, trailing the New York Yankees (478-332) by only five games. In the postseason, Manuel's Phillies teams posted a 27-19 (.587) record.
A source said the Phillies front office has discussed possible scenarios for a managerial change in recent weeks, although until recently nothing had been decided. The Phillies front office held a conference call in the afternoon to discuss the change.
Sandberg, the Phillies' third-base coach, was named to be interim manager through the end of the season. He had been the heir apparent to Manuel since he joined the coaching staff in the offseason.
The 53-year-old Hall of Famer, a 10-time All-Star and the 1984 NL Most Valuable Player Award winner, Sandberg was drafted by the Phillies in 1978 and broke into the Major Leagues with them in '81 but was traded soon after to the Chicago Cubs. He managed in the Minor Leagues for six seasons -- four for the Cubs, two for the Phils.
---- Source: MLB.com
One cannot help but wonder what fans of the Chicago Cubs are thinking of this development. Sandberg, a member of Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame, spent his career playing second base for the Cubs. He left the Cubs' organization when he was passed over in the selection of manager - this after "paying his dues" while serving as a Minor League manager.
- Photo2 by Tim Evearitt