“Charlie Manuel is one of us.”
The above quote isn't credited to anyone in particular. Instead, it represents the feelings of countless Philadelphia Phillies' fans whose ranks greatly expanded over time.
Manuel began his tenure with the team as a special assistant to then-general manager Ed Wade two years before replacing much-loved manager Larry Bowa as the full-time skipper. Hall of Famer general manager Pat Gillick allowed him to lead his team, as did current GM Ruben Amaro, Junior.
Were all three baseball men wrong?
The West Virginia native began his managerial reign at the start of the 2005 season and ended it in mid-August 2013. Through that time he became the greatest manager in franchise history. The only people who would likely disagree with that opinion are same ones who also disagreed with the generic quote that lead this feature.
Sometimes, time can't be seen in perspective as it's playing out in real-time. In this instance, everyone who understands the game and doesn't take themselves too seriously knows that Manuel's high place within this era of Phillies' baseball is fully secured.
A World Series Championship (2008), back-to-back 'Fall Classic' appearances (2008, 2009), five consecutive playoff appearances (2007-2011), a team-record 102-win season (2011) and the most wins (780 of his 1,000 total career major league victories) of any Phillies' manager.
Manuel accomplishments weren't gained because he was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time. He helped to make the times, which easily rank among the greatest, or actually are the greatest, in franchise history.
Just like his love for the game, Manuel's place in Phillies' lore will endure.