Feb 13, 2016

Former Mets Late 2000's Manager: Jerry Manuel (2008-2010)

Jerry Manuel was born December 23, 1953 in Hahira, Georgia soon moving with his family west to Cordova, California.

He was picked in the first round of the 1972 draft, by the Detroit Tigers, the 20th pick overall. He was a solid middle infielder never known for his hitting. Life time he was a .150 hitter, going 19-127 in his brief career. He made his debut in 1975 as a September call up, going 1-18 in six games. The next season he hit only .140 in 43 at bats and found himself toiling in the minors for the next three years.

In 1980 he was traded to the Montreal Expos for former Mets backup catcher, Duffy Dyer. He spent two seasons playing sparingly in Montreal; hitting a career best .200, with 3 HRs & 10 RBIs in 27 games in 1981. The 1981 strike shortened season was the only time the Expos ever made the post season. I

In the first round of the playoffs, Manuel went 1-14 playing in five games as Montreal defeated the Philadelphia Phillies. In the NLCS he appeared as a pinch runner only, against the eventual World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers. He played two games in San Diego in 1982 and ended a quick five season career playing in 96 career games with 19 hits 3 HRs, 6 doubles one triple 13 RBIs and a .150 average.

Retirement: Manuel began as a scout in the White Sox organization then moved over to the Expos organization for the next eleven years. In 1991 he became the Expos third base coach, remaining there through 1996. In 1997 he was bench coach under Jim Leyland winning a World Series title with the Florida Marlins.

The next season he was hired as the White Sox manager, a position he held for six seasons. After two straight second place finishes, his 2000 White Sox won 95 games and a division title earning him the Manager of the Year Award.

They were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. His Sox finished second four times during his time at the helm, posting winning records three times along with one 81-81 season. He is fourth all time in wins in White Sox history, posting a 500-471 record.

Trivia: Along with GM Ken Williams, the two made up the first African American manager/General Manager combo in baseball history.

In 2005 he was hired by the New York Mets as a first base coach under new skipper Willie Randolph. The next season he was promoted to bench coach, a position he would hold for the next season as well. He wanted to be manager again badly, and announced if he didn’t get a big league job by 2009 he would leave to head up a baseball program at William Jessup University in California.

On June 17, 2008 when Willie Randolph got the axe, Manuel was named the Mets interim manager becoming the 19th manger in Mets. On his first day on the job, he removed Jose Reyes from a game and had an argument with him in the dugout runway. Reyes returned to the dugout and apologized to his team mates for the incident.

Manuel’s easy going style, sense of humor & contagious laugh made him interesting at media press conferences. Manuel’s impact was felt right away as he brought the Mets from .500 to first place into September going 55-38 under his leadership. They held a 3 ½ game lead with two weeks to go, but they ended up blowing it all down the stretch. Their playoff hopes faded when they lost on the last day of the season, at the final game ever played at Shea Stadium.

In 2009 injuries plagued the Mets in their inaugural season at Citi Field, they finished fourth 70-92. It was their worst effort in six seasons, finishing 23 games out of first place.

Mets ownership gave Manuel another chance for 2010 and at the Winter meetings he himself admitted he’s on the hot seat. Things didn't get better, he finished the year at 79-83 in fourth place, 18 games back. Manuel was fired at the end of the season.

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