In the aftermath of Larry Bowa's 2004 departure, a large number of Philadelphia Phillies' fans wanted managerial interview candidate Jim Leyland to be hired. But, Charlie Manuel was selected by general manager Ed Wade. Now, after his American League Championship Series defeat, Jim Leyland's resignation has effectively awarded a long-standing baseball argument to everyone who was on Manuel's side.
The settled point isn't about Leyland being a better manager than Manuel. The soon-to-be 69-year-old was rightly considered as one of the better skippers in the game since he first led the Pittsburgh Pirates in the mid-1980s.
Leyland, who plans to accept a position within the Detroit Tigers' organization, stood in the dugout for far longer than Manuel did (22 seasons verses 12). He also won more pennants during his entire career than Manuel did (three verses two).
The media never fawned over Manuel during his time in Philadelphia, because many scribes considered themselves to be smarter than he was. The same mentality was also firmly held by a hardened core of red pinstriped loyalists in the stands.
Manuel managed the Phillies from 2005 through mid-August 2013. During that time he had a regular season record of 780-636 (.551 winning percentage). He also won the NL pennant in 2008 and 2009. He won the World Series in 2008.
Leyland managed the Tigers from 2006 through 2013. During that time he had a regular season record of 700-597 (.540 winning percentage). He won two pennants, but didn't win the World Series either time (2006, or 2012).
Pure hypothetical conjecture places Leyland above Manuel during their nearly dual-tenures. In-game strategy, experience, and some similar topics are likely to be referenced during that surmise.
Others have and will speculate that Leyland would have done more with the Phillies if he had been hired way back when. But, there is no logical conclusion to be made that places Leyland anywhere other than second in this two-man race.
The Leyland-Manuel argument has been settled in Manuel's favor. Those who refuse to acknowledge reality might use the power of their emotions to claim otherwise. They could also try to change the subject. On the other hand, balanced individuals will simply admit that they were wrong.
Manuel was the right man for his Phillies' times.