Charlie Manuel spoke at Roy Halladay’s memorial service last November and he took the opportunity to promise the pitcher’s sons that he’d be there for them in the future.
“I want to say to Braden and Ryan, that I’ll be watching you play baseball, sons,” Manuel said near the end of his eight-minute eulogy. “I”ve been pulling for you ever since I met you. I will come to some of your games. I’ll get a schedule. I guarantee you I’ll keep up with you.”
Five months later, the former Philadelphia Phillies manager is proving to be a man of his word.
While the 74-year-old Manuel still works with the Phillies during spring training, he skipped out of Saturday’s game to make sure he was in attendance for Braden Halladay’s appearance against the Toronto Blue Jays.
He’s also showed up for Braden’s high school games with Calvary Christian and Ryan’s practices, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports.
If their dad can’t be there, their dad’s old major league manager will.
Manuel knows all too well the situation that Halladay’s sons are facing after their father’s death in a plane crash on Nov. 7. Manuel’s own father died when he was 18.
“I feel for those boys,” Manuel said to NBC Sports Philadelphia. “I know what they’re going through and it isn’t easy. Not easy at all.”
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) March 18, 2018
Pitching for Team Canada, 17-year-old Braden pitched a perfect eighth inning in Saturday’s annual exhibition the Blue Jays. Manuel spoke to Braden before the game and later told reporters that Braden could follow in his father’s footsteps once his frame starts to fill out. (He’s 6-3 but only weighs 150 pounds.)
“When he’s 21, he’ll pitch at 205 pounds,” Manuel said. “He’ll get stronger. You watch, he’s got a chance to be real good. He has a good, quick arm, command of the ball and mechanics.”
Like every other baseball fan who watched Braden pitch, Manuel couldn’t help but notice the eerie similarity between Braden’s mechanics and mannerisms and his father’s.
“You can tell Roy worked with him,” Manuel said.
As for Manuel’s commitment to his word, Braden told reporters that the support means “a lot.”
Manuel, who won one World Series with the Phillies and went to another, has long been recognized as one of baseball’s good guys, as genuine as they come. It shouldn’t be a surprise that he’s providing support to the Halladay family in such a tough time.
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