Phillies replace manager Charlie Manuel with Ryne Sandberg
Shake-up comes in middle of a terrible second half to season, ending most successful run in club history
With Charlie Manuel seated to his left, Ruben Amaro Jnr broke down in tears after announcing he fired his manager.
It was that emotional for the general manager and for many others associated with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Manuel was let go in the middle of a terrible second half of the season, ending the most successful run in club history. Hall of Famer and former Cubs second baseman Ryne Sandberg, the Phillies' third base coach, replaced Manuel for the start of a 10-game homestand.
The Phillies didn't play any better for Sandberg and lost 4-0 to the Los Angeles Dodgers in his debut. They have lost 20 of 24.
It wasn't an easy night, or day, for anyone in the organisation.
"You people may not know the relationship I've had with Charlie. He's a special person. This is difficult for me. I hope he stays in our organisation," said Amaro, who took over as general manager after Manuel led the Phillies to the World Series title in 2008.
The 69-year-old Manuel, who has won more games than any other manager in club history, was in the final year of his contract and wanted to manage another two or three seasons. "I never quit nothing and I didn't resign," Manuel said, making it clear he was pushed out the door.
Manuel won his 1,000th game as manager on Monday in Atlanta. Two days later, he sat in the dugout knowing it would be his last game after Amaro informed him of the decision not to extend his contract. "I think sometimes people forget how much I love to win," Manuel said. "I think sometimes I don't talk about it, because I push it to my team and how important it is. Every day, I say our No1 priority is to win the game. When we get away from that, we get into trouble. I love everything about managing, and I think for us, the last couple years to fall back, I get upset, very much so. I want us to stay where we were at, I want to compete for a World Series every year."
Manuel led Philadelphia to its second World Series title in 2008 and brought the team back to the Series in 2009, when they lost to the Yankees in six games.
Manuel was 780-636 with the Phillies and won five straight NL East titles from 2007-11. He also spent three years as manager with the Cleveland Indians, winning the AL Central in 2001.