Charlie Manuel, the former championship manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, has reached some very encouraging milestones in his recovery from a stroke last weekend. To start, he was moved out of the ICU on Sunday, a huge step for stroke patients.
Todd Zolecki, Phillies beat writer for MLB.com, reported that Manuel has also been awake and talking. He spent Sunday watching the Phillies' series finale against the St. Louis Cardinals, reading the numerous texts that had been sent to his phone, and listening to recorded messages from some of his former players like Chase Utley, Brad Lidge, Jimmy Rollins, and others.
Manuel, 79, had the stroke Saturday while he was in the middle of a medical procedure. Doctors immediately removed the blood clot, but the next 24 hours were crucial for his recovery, as his wife Missy told the Phillies.
There is no one quite like Charlie Manuel in Phillies lore. A West Virginia native, his laid back and genial personality was an odd fit with Philadelphia's gruff and gritty exterior, especially since the Phillies hadn't been to the playoffs in 12 years when he began managing the Phillies in 2005. But that was only at first. It didn't take long for Manuel and his easy, likable charm to win over Phillies fans.
In 2007, Manuel's third year with the team, he led them to their first playoff appearance since 1993. Just one year later, he and the entire Phillies forever etched their names in Philadelphia history when they won the the franchise's second World Series trophy, their first since 1980. And if the win itself didn't transform Manuel into a Philly folk hero, his speech at the end of the 2008 World Series parade certainly did, when he uttered the words "this is for Philadelphia" and heard tens of thousands of fans ecstatically answer back.
Manuel was inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame in 2014, just one year after the team fired him (replacing him with Ryne Sandberg), and has continued to work with them ever since. Only Chase Utley and Jason Kelce hold a similar spot in Phillies fans' hearts, so it's no wonder that Manuel's wife believes the constant stream of love and support they've gotten from Phillies fans over the last few days has genuinely helped him heal. There's enough Manuel-directed positive energy in Philadelphia to heal an entire stadium of Charlie Manuels.