How Dallas Green and Charlie Manuel overcame their differences

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Charlie Manuel chats with Dallas Green (left) during batting practice at Citizens Bank Park on Oct. 5, 2010.

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The morning after the death of one of only two men to walk this planet and guide the losingest franchise in sports to a championship, the other wore his faded red Phillies windbreaker and watched some baseball. They are forever linked, Dallas Green and Charlie Manuel. They are kindred spirits in this game. They embodied a throwback, uncensored style. They mastered, through different methods, how to lead.

Hell, they fought each other.

"Once we aired our differences out, we became friends," Manuel said. "Actually, I think having a few cocktails and having dinner might've helped that."

Manuel, 73, has found purpose in the twilight of his baseball career just as Green did. Green, who managed the 1980 Phillies, wore a straw hat instead of a ball cap as a front-office adviser for the last two decades. He roamed the back fields and remained an imposing presence in the Phillies' draft room until his death Wednesday. He was 82.

That is how Manuel mourned. He stood behind the batting cage and chatted with coaches. Later, when the game began, he assumed his spot in the dugout and waited for a player to gravitate for an inning-long conversation.

When the Phillies break camp, Manuel will trade his pinstriped baseball pants for a notebook. He'll scout amateur players ahead of the June draft, when the Phillies pick eighth. He will offer reports and suggestions as the Phillies' executives deliberate. Then, later in the summer, he'll parachute into the team's minor-league affiliates and work with young hitters.

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Manuel and Green, until his death, held the same title of senior adviser to the general manager. Green was a constant presence at spring training; his voice would bellow from the catwalks above the fields at the Carpenter Complex. But not this spring. Manuel aims to continue that legacy.

"I always wanted to hear his suggestions and evaluations of players," Manuel said. "I think I have a lot to offer yet. And I'm sure he probably felt the same way. I never thought I earned something."

They celebrated that Wednesday night, nine Octobers ago, in Manuel's office at Citizens Bank Park with a bottle of Seagram's VO. They talked about the 2008 champions. Green, knowing the expectations from 28 years earlier, told Manuel he had to win it again the next season.

"I think I outdrank him," Manuel said. "Really."

They were enemies in 2006, when Green issued one of his trademark radio rants against Manuel's managerial tactics. The Phillies told Green to avoid the field after his criticism. One day that August, Green stopped by with friends. He tried to greet Manuel.

Manuel, for 60 seconds, hollered and pointed his finger at the bearish Green.

"It wasn't very friendly," Green later said. "That's his style. He's got some macho to him."

They both did, and that is how they eventually bonded. The respect was mutual — especially after Manuel led the 2008 Phillies to a title to join Green in the most exclusive of Philadelphia sports clubs. They reveled in their constant debates about players.

Manuel, fired as Phillies manager late in the 2013 season, could not imagine life without baseball. His current role allows him the chance to stick around, but not without regrets.

"I like it. I like it," Manuel said. "I miss the field. I miss being in the clubhouse. ... I miss everything about it, really."

Now, he gushes when he talks about the young players in the organization. Roman Quinn's speed, Rhys Hoskins' power, Jorge Alfaro's arm. The power pitchers in the low minors. All of this excites Manuel, just as his teams' successes thrilled Green.

His spring dugout chats are not just about hitting. "How to study the game," Manuel said. "The things to look for." He has found willing listeners.

Green, Manuel said, was more old-school than he. Manuel could be tough, but he preferred to joke with his players. Green basked in the delight of being a devil's advocate. That made his acceptance even more gratifying, and Manuel found happiness in their relationship as old baseball men.

"Baseball's going to miss Dallas Green," Manuel said. "The Phillies are definitely going to miss him. I'm going to miss him."