The Philadelphia Phillies Friday fired manager Charlie Manuel and said Ryne Sandberg would lead the club for the rest of the season.
The Phillies are 53-67 and are headed to what would be their first losing season in Manuel’s nine-year tenure. The club won the World Series in 2008, their first in 28 years, under Manuel.
During Friday’s press conference, Manuel made it clear that he did not quit and said, “it’s something they wanted to do.”
Sandberg, a Hall of Fame second baseman who played for the Chicago Cubs, had been the Phillies third base coach. He did not attend the press conference.
This year is his third in the Phillies organization, having served the first two as the manager for triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Before joining the Phillies, Sandberg managed four years in the Cubs minor league system, leading his clubs to two first-place finishes.
Sandberg was originally drafted by the Phillies in 1978 and made his major league debut with the team in September of 1981 before being traded to the Cubs. He played 15 years for Chicago and finished his career with a .285 batting average, 282 home runs and 1,061 RBI in 2,164 games.
Manuel recently reached the 1,000-win mark for his managerial career. He holds the record for most career wins by a Phillies manager with 699. He also has the Phillies’ mark for most wins in a single season with 102 in 2011.
From 2005 to 2012, the Phillies compiled the best overall record in the National League at 727-569 under Manuel’s tenure.
Manuel is one of only two managers in National League history, along with Atlanta’s Bobby Cox, to win five straight division titles (2007 to 2011) since division play began in 1969.
But the Phillies have struggled mightily since the All-Star break, losing 19 of their last 23 games. The pitching staff, with the exception of Cole Hamels, has been especially bad as starters have a 6.48 ERA in 24 games.