This promises to be a season rife with drama for Charlie Manuel, now 69 years old and without a contract beyond 2013. It's his birthday Friday. Manuel, a man with a proud ego, has rebuffed notions of this being a farewell tour; one last chance at finishing on top.
The accolades are forever etched in stone: winningest manager in Phillies history, one of two to capture a World Series championship, and owner of five straight division titles.
There is one more. Manuel needs 37 games to become the longest-tenured manager in franchise history, passing Gene Mauch's 1,332 games. Barring postponements, Manuel will achieve that feat May 10 in Arizona.
Even more amazing, Manuel ranks 17th all-time in managers' winning percentage among those who have managed for at least 10 seasons. Thirteen of the 16 men above him are in the Hall of Fame.
|Mgr||Yrs||From||To||G||W||L||W-L% ▾||G>.500||AvRk||Plyof App|
|Joe McCarthy HOF||24||1926||1950||3487||2125||1333||.615||792||2.0||9|
|Charlie Comiskey HOF||12||1883||1894||1410||840||541||.608||299||3.4||0|
|Frank Selee HOF||16||1890||1905||2180||1284||862||.598||422||2.9||0|
|Billy Southworth HOF||13||1929||1951||1770||1044||704||.597||340||2.4||4|
|Frank Chance HOF||11||1905||1923||1622||946||648||.593||298||3.1||4|
|John McGraw HOF||33||1899||1932||4769||2763||1948||.586||815||2.6||9|
|Al Lopez HOF||17||1951||1969||2425||1410||1004||.584||406||2.4||2|
|Earl Weaver HOF||17||1968||1986||2541||1480||1060||.583||420||2.2||6|
|Harry Wright HOF||23||1871||1893||2145||1225||885||.581||340||3.2||0|
|Cap Anson HOF||21||1875||1898||2288||1295||947||.578||348||4.0||0|
|Fred Clarke HOF||19||1897||1915||2829||1602||1181||.576||421||3.7||2|
|Walter Alston HOF||23||1954||1976||3658||2040||1613||.558||427||2.9||7|
|Miller Huggins HOF||17||1913||1929||2570||1413||1134||.555||279||3.2||6|
No one on that list has a better average ranking in the yearly standings than Manuel (1.6). That's mostly because of the modern composition of six divisions in baseball.
Manuel does not have the tenure of many above him, and his age will probably prevent him from joining Cooperstown. Still, it's impressive to consider his resume, given he did not manage in the majors until he was 56.
He is 69 today, with plenty to prove when winter turns to spring.
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