On October 11, 2010, longtime Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox coached for the last time in a Game 4 loss to the San Francisco Giants, eliminating the Braves from the playoffs.
Cox was able to receive what Charlie Manuel had stolen from him - a standing ovation by a grateful crowd (and by both teams) celebrating a long and fruitful career, capped by a championship win and so many division titles, it's hard to keep count.
Of all the ill-advised and dumbfounding moves the Phillies have made this season, canning one of Philadelphia's most beloved and successful coaches the night you were going to celebrate his 1,000th win has to be the stupidest.
I have a lot of cartoons I want to draw about general manager Ruben Amaro and what could quickly become a dysfunctional franchise. But I have the rest of the season for that - here I thought I'd give Charlie the sendoff his bosses evidently thought he didn't deserve.
I'm not trying to make the case that Manuel should be back next year, although it does speak to the knee-jerk reaction of today's sporting world that it's "necessary" to can a coach who until this year has never had a losing season.
I just don't know why general manager Ruben Amaro thought the best time to fire Manuel was when you were just about to honor the guy who brought your franchise its first championship in almost 30 years. Did Manuel not earn the right to coach out the season? Do you expect Ryne Sandberg to show you anything with this team in the 40 or so games remaining? Did your veteran players (who are all coming back next year) not deserve a say?
Manuel didn't even get to coach a "last game" in front of a hometown crowd ready to say goodbye. His final home game will go down in history as a 12-1 throbbing of the Cubs on August 8.
I hope Ryne Sandberg is as good a coach as he was a second baseman. But I wonder... if he isn't, will Ruben Amaro shed any tears for him?
Here are a handful of Charlie Manuel toons I've drawn over the years. I guess it's time to start practicing my Sandberg caricature...