More than a year ago, the folks at the Daily News decided to conduct an experiment—to try and create a weekly magazine focused on the city’s enduring passion for sports: the fans, the athletes, the stories behind the scores. The result was SportsWeek, which debuted on October 2, 2011 featuring a cover story on Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. To mark our first year, SportsWeek editors put together this collection (see below) of great reads from our first 52 issues.
Click here for a gallery of all 52 covers from the first year.
Long before he donned the red pinstripes and established himself as unquestionably the greatest manager in the annals of the organization, Charlie Manuel had worked his way up through baseball the hard way, beginning as a bench player with Twins and Dodgers, then as an American abroad in the Japanese leagues, and then as an anonymous minor league manager and big-league batting coach.
He is bald now, the braids of his youth replaced by a cueball head that holds his cap like a storefront window bust. At 32, he is the most veteran fixture on the town's most successful team, and one of the most accomplished shortstops in the history of baseball. Eleven years after he first arrived in Philadelphia, Jimmy Rollins' career has completed an arc that few local athletes ever experience.
His mother abandoned him before he was a year old. He watched his father go to prison three times. He dealt drugs on Chicago's streets as a 12-year-old. He often went to middle school drunk. He ran with a gang. Before he was 14, he was arrested twice. But Jason Avant is the Eagles' iron man, hardened beyond his years, the lodestone that guides the team's players in times of trouble.