Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Worst Twins of All-Time Series: Charlie Manuel

Welcome back to one of the most popular off-season series here at NoDak Twins Fan, the Worst Twins of All-Time. There have already been eleven profiles of some players that played their worst while wearing a Twins uniform. Luckily most of the players went on to have careers beyond their time in Minnesota. 

Today's edition to the series played parts of four seasons in Minnesota as a left fielder and pinch hitter. He'd go on to a successful coaching career in baseball but he wasn't very good during his Twins tenure. Welcome to the dubious club, Charlie Manuel.

Charlie Manuel was born in West Virginia but graduated high school in Buena Vista, Virginia. He signed with the Twins as an amateur free agent in 1963. He'd spend the first half of his 20's working his way through multiple minor league levels. Manuel had over 1700 plate appearances at the A level over four seasons and hit .258/.345/.385.

In 1968 Manuel put together a solid .283/.338/.455 slash-line with 13 home runs, 26 doubles, and 11 triples at Double-A. This was enough to convince the Twins to start him at the big league level in 1969. He'd get the most plate appearances of his career (194 PA) but struggled to hit. 207/.320/.280 with two home runs and six doubles.

Over the next three seasons, the Twins would use Manuel sparingly and his offensive numbers continued to suffer. Combine this with below average defense and there wasn't much of a reason to keep Manuel on the field. He'd finish his four year Twins stint averaging .199/.276/.265 with 16 extra-base hits in 223 games. Manuel would get two ALCS at-bats in 1969-70 and he struck out once and got walked in the other.

Baseball Reference combines his four years in Minnesota to be worth a -2.1 WAR. That includes negative numbers on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. According to FanGraphs, Manuel is one of the top 10 worst offensive players in team history. His compiled -1.8 WAR ranks behind players like David McCarty and Rondell White.

Manuel would be traded with Glen Ezell to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Mike Floyd and Jim Fairey near the end of October 1973.  He'd play in less than 20 games for the Dodgers over the next two seasons before heading over to Japan. In six seasons overseas, Manuel played in over 600 games and hit .303/.385/.447 with 189 home runs and 69 doubles.

Manuel's time in Minnesota wasn't over when his playing days came to an end. He returned to the United States and the Twins organization to be a scout. After that, he'd spend nine seasons coaching in the Twins' (1983-1987) and Cleveland Indians' minor league systems. He win multiple manager of the year awards including one in 1984 while coaching for the Twins.

Cleveland would be the place where Manuel would make his coaching mark. He served multiple stints as the team's hitting coach before taking over the managerial duties from 2000-02. The Indians went on to win the AL Central Division in 2001 but he'd be fired a year later in the midst of a contract dispute.

Manuel won't be unemployed long as the Phillies came calling. For two seasons, he served as a special assistant to the general manager before taking over as manager in 2004. He'd led the team to multiple division titles and the 2008 World Series Championship, the Phillies second world title. They'd be back in the Fall Classic a year later before losing to the Yankees in six games.

Even coming off a World Series Championship and four consecutive NL East titles, Manuel didn't make it through the 2012 campaign. He was fired in mid-August and replaced by third-base coach Ryne Sandberg. Since being fired, he's served in the role of senior adviser to the General Manager.

1 comment:

Berdj Joseph Rassam said...

It'll be interesting to see if the Twins have a better 2015 tan they did 2014.