The Phillies made a managerial change Friday afternoon, replacing Charlie Manuel with third-base coach and Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg. The move is effective immediately -- Sandberg will manage the Phillies Friday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
First-base coach Juan Samuel will assume Sandberg's duties at third base, with assistant hitting coach Wally Joyner taking over for Samuel at first.
"We’re making a managerial change that is in the best interest of the future of the organization," GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said at a press conference at Citizens Bank Park. "As we talked a little bit further, it became evident the best course of action would be to make this change immediately as we begin to transition by offering the managerial position to Ryne Sandberg on an interim basis."
This wasn't Manuel's decision.
"I never quit nothin' and I didn't resign," Manuel said. "I think it was an understanding. ... I will say this, the decision definitely came from the organization, but at the same time too I definitely wanted to put my team and also the Philadelphia Phillies above myself, and I mean that."
Amaro said he "toiled" with the idea of allowing Manuel to finish the season.
"What it came down to was a few things," Amaro said. "One, I wanted to make sure when the decision was made that Charlie would not be back, that he would know. I didn’t see any reason why we should drag it out, and let him sit for the next 40 games knowing he wasn’t going to be the manager beyond this year. I don't think that was fair to him. And additionally, it gives us an opportunity to see what we have in Ryne Sandberg."
Manuel, the winningest manager in Phillies history, took over in 2005 and won at least 85 games in his first seven seasons as Phillies manager. He led them to the 2008 World Series, the Phillies’ first in 28 years and the city’s first major sports title in a quarter-century.
Manuel's 2011 Phillies won a franchise-record 102 games before being eliminated by the Cardinals in the NLDS. His record with the Phils was 780-636, a .551 winning percentage.
But the Phils took drastic steps back in both 2012 and 2013, needing a strong finish to go 81-81 last season and positioning themselves this year for their first losing season since 2000.
Manuel sits at exactly 1,000 career wins in 12 seasons with the Phillies and Indians.
"Charlie has been clearly a very, very important part of our Phillies history, our success here," said a teary-eyed Amaro. "He’s won a World Series. He's won five consecutive league championships. He’s clearly one of the most decorative managers in the history of our franchise.
"Charlie understood this decision. Making this change is not easy for me. Not easy for me personally, not easy for the organization. But it’s a change that the Phillies need to make as we look toward the future."
Sandberg, a 2005 Hall of Fame inductee, is in his third year in the Phillies' organization. He spent the previous two seasons as the manager of the Triple A Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, posting a record of 155-132 and leading the team to its first playoff appearance. Sandberg was drafted by the Phillies in 1978 before being traded to the Cubs in 1981.
"I must say that, for me, I recognize this day as Charlie Manuel Day," Sandberg said at his own press conference shortly after Amaro and Manuel spoke. "What he's meant to the Philadelphia Phillies' organization, what he's meant to the fans, the championships, the World Series, he's tops in the organization for what he did here. I really enjoyed my nearly three years with him in spring training and being here in Septembers, and this year especially being with him on a daily basis. I wish Charlie the best with whatever he intends to do, and he left a big footprint here in Philadelphia."