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World Series winner has nice ring for Manuel


World Series winner has nice ring for Manuel
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Charlie Manuel looked up at the crowd that loved to boo him and had one message for the Phillies fans all wildly cheering him now.

"Who's the world champion?" he said repeatedly.

Yo, Philly. You know the answer.

Listening to the throaty chants bellowed by delirious Philly fans, the city also knows who to thank for winning the World Series.

"Charlie! Charlie! Charlie!"

Dang, that folksy Manuel won't be so easy to poke fun at anymore.

Second-guessed and critiqued from the day he was hired, Manuel made all the right moves this season. Philadelphia beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 Wednesday night to win the World Series four games to one.

He shut 'em all up and proved 'em all wrong.

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

The 64-year-old Manuel and Dallas Green (1980) are now the only Phillies managers with World Series rings. Green is a special adviser to general manager Pat Gillick.

"Charlie's done outstanding," Gillick said. "He never has a bad day. He keeps the players in the right frame of mind. That is so important these days."

Manuel took in all the big moments, like watching the Phillies mob closer Brad Lidge after the final out.

"I said, 'You know what? We just won the World Series,"' he said. "Like, we're champions. I kind of laughed. I liked every minute of it."

No "like" about this one. The Phillies really are the champs.

Manuel's greatest professional triumph came with a dose of sadness. His mother died during the NL championship series, and he left a workout day to attend her funeral in Buena Vista, Va., where Manuel placed a Phillies cap in his mother's casket.

June Manuel was in her son's thoughts as he celebrated the World Series title.

"I think she'd be hollering and laughing," Manuel said. "And I think she'd be telling us how good a team I had and all that stuff, really. And she would be saying that she's going to walk around in Buena Vista and talk to everybody tomorrow. That's what she would be saying."

People there certainly haven't forgotten him. A banner hung on the concourse near section 113 Wednesday that read "Good luck Charlie and Phillies. Buena Vista, Va."

Manuel wasn't an instant hit in fickle Philly. He sounded funny to the locals and didn't bring the outgoing, fiery attitude of his predecessor, Larry Bowa.

Although fans needed time to warm to Manuel, the players loved him almost immediately. He had the support of former Phillies first baseman Jim Thome, and his easygoing style was a welcome change from the contentious Bowa era.

"He has a lot to do with keeping us all confident and calm at the same time," closer Brad Lidge said. "He's made us feel great the entire year."

Phillies pitcher Brett Myers said Manuel was a father figure in the clubhouse.

"We always look up to him and respect him for whatever he has to say," Myers said. "He keeps us up in the clubhouse and lets us be individuals, and that's a pretty good guy to play for."

Manuel's no pushover, though. He pulled NL MVP Jimmy Rollins from a game in June for failing to run hard on a popup, then later benched him for arriving late to the ballpark for a game against the division rival Mets.

Rollins credited former GM Ed Wade for hiring Manuel, and Gillick for sticking with him when it might have been easier to bring in his own guy.

"Him bringing in Charlie and changing the attitude of this team and getting players that wanted to win and knew how to win, this is what happens when all those things come together," Rollins said.

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.

That's now just a footnote in a career forever stamped with a World Series championship.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 30, 2008

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