There are lots of reasons to love former Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. He guided the team to two National League pennants and a World Series win in nine seasons and won more games (780) than any other manager in franchise history. I also love him for the crazy stuff that he would say as he stumbled and bumbled his way through media sessions. Many people here did. Ironically, his oratorical imperfections, once a source of ridicule as the team failed to reach the postseason during his early years in town, quickly became one of his most endearing traits.
Personally, I didn’t always understand what he was saying, but dammit, I respected it.
I also respect how he handled being unceremoniously removed from a position he was not ready to concede to his successor, Ryne Sandberg, who demonstrated the personality of a rock and people skills that low-key rivaled those of Chip Kelly. By the time Manuel was discarded, the afterglow of five-consecutive NL East titles had long worn off, but considering how and for who Manuel was removed, well, let’s just say that he handled the situation much better than most would. Ultimately, he came back to work for the organization in an advisory role, further strengthening his Philadelphia baseball legacy.
And now, there’s yet another reason to love Manuel, as we learned in a story published yesterday by NBCSP’s Jim Salisbury. Over the weekend, he delivered on a public and heartfelt promise made to Roy Halladay’s children at their father’s memorial service back in November.
Said Manuel at the time:
I want to say to Braden and Ryan, that I’ll be watching you play baseball, sons. I”ve been pulling for you ever since I met you. I will come to some of your games. I’ll get a schedule. I guarantee you I’ll keep up with you.
Fast-forward to this past weekend when Manuel made the trip from Clearwater to Dunedin to watch Halladay’s oldest son, Braden, fire a perfect 1-2-3 inning for the Canadian Junior Team against the Toronto Blue Jays. What he witnessed occurring on the very same mound his father refined his craft to become one of the game’s finest modern pitchers had to look shockingly familiar:
Halladays. 😢 pic.twitter.com/7QfoA0jc2O
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 18, 2018
The initial mechanics of father and son vary, but the kick and release? Almost dead-on.
“I’m so glad I came over. He did good. I’m glad he got ‘em out.”
You can watch his full appearance here:
According to Salisbury, Manuel also recently took in one of Braden’s starts for his high school team, and attended the practice of Halladay’s youngest son, Ryan, earlier in the week.
“I feel for those boys. I know what they’re going through and it isn’t easy. Not easy at all,” Manuel told Salisbury.
Sometimes it’s easy in moments of grief to offer words of comfort. Saying you will be there, and actually being there are two different things. It speaks volumes of the 74-year-old Manuel’s nature. It wasn’t done for attention, he didn’t anticipate the fanfare, or blog posts filled with praise–he did it simply because he’s a good person. Nice work, Charlie.