August 08, 2011
Here at Big League Stew headquarters, we sometimes get stories from readers that we want to share with a larger audience. Here's one about a small gesture from Charlie Manuel that meant the world to one man and his family after the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series in 2008.
I just read David Brown's story about Jimmy Leyland and an irate fan and wanted to share a personal experience involving Charlie Manuel of the Phillies.
In Oct. 2008, my twin brother Al, a huge lifelong Phillies fan, was fighting stage 4 pancreatic cancer. He was in the Navy, stationed in Norfolk, Va so he was in Portsmouth Naval Hospital during the NLCS. During the series he said that if the Phillies won we needed to go up to Philly just to be in the city while the World Series was being played. At that moment I decided that if the Phils made it I was going to get tickets. They did win and I did buy tickets but when the time came he was too sick to go to the game. Somebody from the Navy had also made arrangements for him to attend a different game, even including airline tickets, but again he was too sick to attend. The Phillies had sent him a package with an autographed hat, some other swag and niceties for he and his kids, but he never got to attend the World Series.
Five days after the series ended he was at home, in hospice care, when the phone rang. It was Charlie Manuel. He talked to my brother for about a half hour, all about the series, what it was like, how proud he was of the team etc etc. It wasn't one of those "sorry you're sick, hope you feel better" calls, it was two baseball fans talking to each other about a sport they both loved. It is hard to describe what a highlight that was for my brother. That call came on a Monday night and my brother died that Friday at age 41.
To me that just says every that needs to be said about what a class guy Charlie Manuel is. The story about Jimmy Leyland reminded me of it and I wanted to share.
After getting this email from Scott, we asked if we could share it with the BLS readership. This was his reply:
By all means go ahead and run that email. In this day and age of so many selfish acts and negative stories I think it is a great story and if you think others would like it feel free to run it.
I never knew who got in touch with the Phillies to have that call happen, but I am sure grateful it did. They had sent the box of swag during the NLCS while he was in the hospital which I thought was pretty cool, but he was really disappointed he couldn't go to the series so hearing from Charlie was fantastic to him and way beyond what I would ever expect from a professional team. Again it just says so much about Charlie. It was one phone call that meant so much to a dying man.
Given Manuel's folksy and genuine reputation, it's not a surprise to learn that he'd take the time to reach out to a fan like that. But we're sure glad that we did.
Thank you for sharing, Scott.