On Friday night, Charlie Manuel became the 36th person to be enshrined in the Phillies Wall of Fame. A group of fellow Wall of Famers were on hand to celebrate with Charlie (along with non-wall guys Jim Thome and Roy Halladay), and Charlie, of course, had to say a few words. He was sometimes nonsensical, he sometimes started sentences without really knowing where they were going, and spoke totally from the heart, which is to say he was Charlie. You can see video of the speech here, and our transcript is below:
“Before I get started I’d like to say I must be getting old, because I saw all these guys up here play. All of ’em are great players and I’m definitely honored to be with ’em. And I think I got here different from most people. I want to recognize all the guys here, they’re super baseball guys, they’re alumni and alumni of course to me is very big. It’s an honor.I’m humbled, I’m gracious, you can name it. I never thought I’d ever receive an award, I never go looking for awards. But if I do something good or somebody has a party and they wanna give me something, I’ll take it.”
Hey Charlie, we’re throwing a party and want to give you an award, do you wanna come?
“I’d like to thank the Phillies. I wanna thank the Phillies for bringing my family here tonight. I think that’s great and I’m glad to have ’em with me. It’s great to have Rich Dubee here and his wife … hey Rich stand up. [Ed. Note: At this point, a very hassled looking Rich Dubee stands.] As you know, Rich was my pitching coach and he was with me for a long time.
When I came over here tonight I didn’t know what I was gonna say. Jimmy Rollins was always kiddin’ me about my notes. Everything I say comes from the heart and if you like it you like it and if you don’t I guess we got a problem. Anyway …
I was here nine years. That nine years went by real fast. We had some great teams, and everybody played a part in those teams. Those teams that were successful, to me, were ‘us.’ It was a ‘we.’ It wasn’t an ‘I,’ we worked together. Our championship team was the greatest thing in my career. The parade down Broadway, absolutely amazing, everything about it.”
At this point, the TV cameras cut to the dugout, full of chuckling players, including Chase Utley:
An angel is tickled every time Chase Utley smiles
“I wanna thank the Philadelphia Phillies. I wanna thank ’em for giving us the talent, and usually in the summer sometimes if we needed another part they’d always go get it and that would give us a better chance to win the division. They played a big role in it. And then of course everything about it: The player development, the scouts, minor league system works for us. But then we get down to the players. The players are the ones that made me, that’s why I’m standing here tonight.
When I first got into baseball, I wanted to teach. But also I wanted to continue taking batting practice. I never thought I’d ever coach in the big leagues, I never thought I’d ever manage in the big leagues. That wasn’t my goal. My intention was to be a teacher and hang around the ballpark where I could still take BP. And I ended up where I’m at tonight. It’s been a long journey, but in some ways it’s been very short. When you’re winning — like for five years we were very successful — it seems like that time went by real quick. When it goes by, actually you don’t really have time to sit and enjoy it. It seems like you’re always trying to stay ahead of the curve.
The players that I had, even in the minor leagues, they helped make me get to the big leagues. Guys like Jimmy Thome and quite a few other great players. But at the same time, a lot of our success here … a lot of ’em are standing over in that dugout. Exactly how much or what I brought to the table, I don’t know you gotta go over and ask them. They’re the ones thats been carrying me all these years.
I owe everything that I possibly got here in Philadelphia to someone. I cannot stand here and receive an accolade that other people had part in. My coaches played a big part in it. We had great coaches. The players of course, the staff in the clubhouse and everything, the trainers, the doctors, everything about it.”
Charlie just really can’t thank enough people. This next part is what it’s all about though:
“And tonight is a special night for me, and also, we’re gettin’ down to the last part, is the fans. The fans are absolutely great. Even today when I go somewhere, and I mean this, I don’t know how to act in some ways. Because I can be anywhere in the state of Pennsylvania and people come up and hug me. Men, girls, boys, you name it. They’ll come and hug me and squeeze me and I don’t know how to react to that. Believe me. I look at ’em sometimes and I’ll be like ‘Why in the world would they be doing that?’ But believe me that happens.”
We don’t doubt you for a second, Charlie, and also when you come to our party to get our award we would also like to hug you.
“But the biggest thing about it: To the fans, you stand behind us, you were our energy all those years. You created an environment where you would not let us lay down or go to sleep or even quit. I give it all to you. And today when I talk to ya — I love talkin’ to ya I sign all the autographs I possibly can and I look forward to meeting you, and I talk to you all the time — you’ve been the greatest. I love everything about ya.
I’m gonna shut up, ’cause I wanna see the game, okay? But I love ya. I just got one thing to say, listen: This is for Philadelphia.”
No, it’s for you, Charlie.