Manuel second candidate for managerial post

Updated: October 13, 2004, 8:25 PM ET
Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA -- After spending two seasons as the team's special assistant and adviser, Charlie Manuel made this recommendation to the Philadelphia Phillies: Hire me as the new manager.

Manuel, 60, was the second candidate in two days to interview for the vacant managerial position, less than two weeks after Larry Bowa was fired. Manuel has served as an instructor and a scout for the Phillies at the major and minor league levels.

"I know the team and I know a lot about it,'' Manuel said Wednesday.

That could be a boost for Manuel, who will join the team for organizational meetings this weekend in Florida.

Manuel had a 220-190 record with the Cleveland Indians and led them to the AL Central championship in 2001, but was fired after a 39-47 start in 2002. Manuel wanted the security of a longterm contract, but as the Indians entered a rebuilding mode, general manager Mark Shapiro wasn't ready to make that commitment.

"They were going one way and I was going the other,'' he said. "I did not go in and demand a contract, a four- or five-year deal. At the same time, I did want to know exactly where we stand.''

Manuel said he didn't think about managing again once he joined the Phillies. But teaching hitting and evaluating got him thinking he'd like another crack at running a major league team.

Manuel's name was often the first mentioned in rumors to take over when Bowa's job status was tenuous during the season.

Bowa made it through all but the final two games. Manuel, though, said he tried to distance himself from spending too much time in the dugout or with the players for fear of being seen as someone waiting for the job.

"It's a huge benefit for Charlie to have the knowledge of our club and organization that he's got,'' Phillies general manager Ed Wade said.

Manuel also has one big thing in his favor -- he is the anti-Bowa. Manuel is folksy, has a Southern drawl, is known as a player's manager and is close to Phillies slugger Jim Thome, whom he managed in Cleveland.

"I get real close to my players and I communicate with them,'' Manuel said. "At the same time, when discipline on a team needs to be done, I'm a hands-on guy.

"I feel I am the man for this job. I didn't come here to not get this job. But at the same time, they can interview whoever they want to.''

And they will.

The Phillies interviewed former Cubs manager Don Baylor on Tuesday. They'll interview former Boston manager Grady Little on Thursday, former Rockies and Tigers manager Buddy Bell on Oct. 25th and former Phillies manager Jim Fregosi on Oct. 26th.

Bell's son, David, is Philadelphia's third baseman and Fregosi managed the Phillies to the 1993 NL pennant. Little was Manuel's bench coach in Cleveland.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press