The Six Degrees of Charlie Manuel

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The Six Degrees of Charlie Manuel
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

By now you know a bunch of stuff about the All-Star game. You know the winner, what league has home-field advantage for the World Series, and the MVP.

 

But in this article, we’re hoping to present you with the stuff you didn’t know about the All-Stars that made the game possible.

 

After reading for months about draft picks, prospects, trades, players, and the life of Charlie Manuel, it occurred to me that Charlie has been everywhere. He was even a star in Japan and that’s a feat—Barbie couldn’t even make it there.

 

That brings us to the reason for this article. You’ve all probably heard of the oracle of “The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.” Supposedly any actor in the world can be connected to Kevin in six steps or less.

 

Well, this is the “Six Degrees of Charlie Manuel.” And although Kevin Bacon was one of the top picks for actors who now look like lesbians, I guarantee you Charlie is nowhere close to holding that honor.

 

This project is the cumulative effort of Bleacher Report contributors Christian Karcole, Bob Warja, Richard Marsh, and me. The idea is my brain-child, but I can take just a slight bit of credit for it because I have only one child and a very small brain. Most of the information I credit to the guys listed above.

 

You might think it’s a wussy year to do an All-Star game association between the NL manager, Charlie Manuel, and the players because the lineup is laden with Phillies, but I guarantee you, Charlie is closer to his players than you think—not quite as close as I’d like to be—but in any case, let’s get started.

 

The information on this first bunch of All-Stars was compiled by Christian Karcole. He’s the B/R co-community leader for the Phillies, B/R columnist, and you may not know this–high school student. My hat’s off to him.

 

After finishing up a year of school, he sat down to do incredible research for this project and I just can’t thank him enough. I think you’ll see why.

 

 

Christian Karcole’s Roll Call

 

Chase Utley

 

Second Baseman, Philadelphia Phillies


In 1969, a young Charlie Manuel made his major league debut. His father had committed suicide in 1963 before his signing with the Minnesota Twins, so Manuel was determined to get somewhere in life. Although his career never panned out much, Charlie was able to stay in the majors for six seasons before leaving for Japan.

Chase Cameron Utley was born in 1978 in Pasadena, California. In April of 2003, Utley made his major league debut. Since then, Utley has played in five full major league seasons, this current one being the sixth.

 

Charlie Manuel also played six seasons in the majors. While Utley will be playing for many more years to come, at this moment, they've both played six.

When Charlie Manuel got to Japan, he became an instant star. Utley also played in Japan as a star, just under a little different circumstance. In 2006, Utley was selected among baseball's best and traveled to Japan with a team of All-Stars to compete against Japanese players.

In 1975, Manuel played on the Los Angeles Dodgers with a man by the name of Ron Cey. Cey went on to play for the Chicago Cubs, and in 1986, was a teammate of current Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer. Of course, Moyer and Utley are now teammates, and Manuel is managing them both.

Here's another tid-bit: Utley bats left and throws right, and Manuel does the same.

 

 

Hanley Ramirez

 

Shortstop, Florida Marlins

Hanley Ramirez's former teammate, Arthur Rhodes, is the engine that gets this one going. Although Rhodes has not played for a single team for more than one season since 2003, he was a mainstay in the Baltimore Orioles' rotation and bullpen for quite a few years.

 

During those years, a catcher by the name of Rick Dempsey played alongside him. An amazing 23 years before, Dempsey had made his major league debut. The year, I'm alluding to is 1969, which was Charlie Manuel's first year in the bigs. Coincidentally, both played for the Minnesota Twins that season.

After their playing days ended, both Dempsey and Manuel became coaches. In 2005, Dempsey was the third base coach for the Baltimore Orioles, a former team of his. The man he was replacing was Sam Perlozzo, who had been promoted to interim manager.

 

In this past offseason, that same Sam Perlozzo was selected by Manuel to be his third base coach.

Going back to Perlozzo's playing days, you'll find that he was a member of the 1977 Minnesota Twins, Manuel's former ball club. Even more odd is the fact that Manuel played with a pitcher by the name of Geoff Zahn in his final season, 1975, and Zahn went on to play for the Twins in 1977 with Perlozzo.

You think that's all? Sam Perlozzo wasn't a major league hit, just as Manuel wasn't, so what did he do? He followed Manuel's example and left for Japan. For his lone season in Japan, Perlozzo played for the Yakult Swallows in 1981. In 1980, Charlie Manuel's last year of any type of professional baseball, he was a member of the Yakult Swallows.

Now that's interesting.

 

Josh Johnson

 

Pitcher, Florida Marlins

Arthur Rhodes shows up again here, and for obvious reasons. Josh Johnson was on the 2008 Florida Marlins, which means that he was also teammates with Rhodes, just as Hanley Ramirez was. What does this mean? It means that the connection between Johnson and Charlie Manuel is the same as it was for Ramirez.

Yet, looking past that, there are a few more ways to connect Manuel and Johnson.

First of all, Johnson broke into the majors against the Phillies in 2005, Manuel's first year as the Phillies' skipper. Also, Johnson was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Manuel's first team, as I've stated, was the Twins, who call Minnesota their home. Finally, we are left with one last bond between the two: they both bat left-handed and throw right-handed.

It's not much, but it's something.

 

Dan Haren

 

Pitcher, Arizona Diamondbacks

Dan Haren is arguably the best pitcher in baseball right now. In 2008, Haren played with Randy Johnson, who has made his case as one of the best pitchers in the history of baseball over the course of his career.

The Big Unit, Johnson, was born in 1963, the year Charlie Manuel's father committed suicide as well as the year of Manuel's first major league contract. Johnson was teammates with a third baseman named Graig Nettles in 1988 with the Montreal Expos.

 

Nettles began his playing career in 1967 with the Minnesota Twins. His last year with the Twins was in 1969, which of course was the year Charlie Manuel began his major league career, and for the same team, the Twins. I'm sure you're sick of the Twins and the year 1969 by now.

Nettles was born in 1944, batted left-handed and threw right-handed, and played for the Cleveland Indians. Manuel was born in 1944, batted left and threw right, and managed the Cleveland Indians. Both also battled and have survived cancer.

Nettles also pitched for the San Diego Padres in 1986. One of his teammates was the memorable John Kruk, who of course went on to play for the Phillies from 1989-1994.

 

During those years, Kruk was a teammate of Mike Leiberthal, who also went on to play for the Phillies. Cole Hamels, the NLCS and World Series MVP in 2008 for Manuel's World Champion Phillies, pitched a few of his first major league games to Leiberthal, completing the circle.

 

Tim Lincecum

 

Pitcher, San Francisco Giants

On May 6, 2007, Tim Lincecum made his major league debut for the San Francisco Giants. He took the mound against the Philadelphia Phillies, led by manager Charlie Manuel. Lincecum was replacing right-hander Russ Ortiz in the rotation due to injury.

 

Russ shares a last name with David, a current member of the Boston Red Sox, and former member of the...Minnesota Twins. (In case you have forgotten, the Twins were Manuel's first team.)

David Ortiz began his career in 1997 with the Twins, when Hall of Fame player Paul Molitor was also a Twin. Molitor was born on Aug. 22, which connects him to me, since that’s also my birthday. Why does that matter? Well, er, I'm a Phillies fan. Does that work?

 

In all seriousness, Molitor played with a familiar name in 1991 for the Milwaukee Brewers: Rick Dempsey. If you have forgotten, Dempsey played with Manuel in 1969, and both later became coaches. Also, Dempsey replaced Sam Perlozzo as third base coach for the Orioles, and Perlozzo is the Phillies' current third base coach. This then continues with Perlozzo's and Manuel's playing careers in Japan.

 

Adrian Gonzalez

 

First Baseman, San Diego Padres

Adrian Gonzalez is a tremendous baseball player. He has quietly put up stellar numbers in his five year career. But honestly, the man doesn't have a strong association with Charlie Manuel, except for one connection: Randy Wolf.

Randy Wolf made a name for himself in the Phillies' rotation after eight years of service with Philadelphia. During that time, he played with numerous current Phillies, and was also a player under Manuel for two seasons, in 2005 and 2006.

 

After moving on from the Phillies, Wolf became a member of the Dodgers in 2007 before pitching for the Astros and Padres during the 2008 seasons. This means Adrian Gonzalez was also his teammate.

So after all of that, it becomes clear that the lone connection between Gonzalez and Manuel is the fact that Wolf played under Manuel and with Gonzalez, correct?

 

Not quite, there's more. After further investigation, I was able to find that Wolf also played with former Phillies closer Jose Mesa. Earlier in his career, Mesa was a member of the Baltimore Orioles. And one of Mesa's teammates was Rick Dempsey (see Hanley Ramirez—if not read about Manuel/Dempsey). Man, these two keep coming back to each other.

But wait, there's more. (I admit, I lied when I stated there was just one connection.) There is, in fact, another interesting group of players that connect these two.

Rene Gonzalez, who I found relates to Adrian solely based on last name, played in the majors for 13 seasons while playing for seven different clubs. Rene played for the California Angles on two occasions, in 1992-1993, and 1995.

 

In 1992, Bert Blyleven was a teammate of Rene's on the Angels. Twenty-two years prior to that season in 1970, Blyleven was a member of the Minnesota Twins, just as Charlie Manuel was.

 

Ryan Howard

 

First Baseman, Philadelphia Phillies

Ryan Howard has made a name for himself as one of baseball's most elite and consistent power-hitters. But this relationship has absolutely nothing to do with power.

Ryan Howard's current teammate, Jamie Moyer, has been in baseball for 22 long seasons. One of those came as a Chicago Cub in 1986, the year Moyer first pitched in the majors. Also on the Cubs that year was a commonly known name to many Phillies fans, and a member of one of the fastest infields baseball has ever seen: Davey Lopes.

In Lopes' third season in the bigs, 1974, Charlie Manuel was preparing to end his career in the United States. Yet, before Manuel left for Japan, he signed on to play for the Dodgers in 1974 and 1975, meaning he and Lopes were teammates for two seasons.

Today, Davey Lopes is still remembered by Phillies fans for two reasons: 1) the controversy he was involved in during the 1977 NLCS when he was incorrectly called safe at a crucial point of game three, and 2) he is the current first base coach for the Phillies.

So there’s one last little connection: Davey Lopes is the first base coach and Ryan Howard plays first base.

 

Orlando Hudson

 

Second Baseman, Los Angeles Dodgers

Orlando Hudson was not signed by the Dodgers until February 21 this past offseason, as many other clubs felt he was a risky pick-up. Well, for most of this season, this "risky" signing has worked out well for the first-place Dodgers.

Speaking of those Dodgers, their manager, Joe Torre, can surprisingly be linked to Charlie Manuel. When he first began his career for the Twins in 1969, Manuel played alongside Joe Grzenda. Grzenda ended his major league career after the 1972 season, which he spent with the St. Louis Cardinals. Another member of that Cardinals team? Joe Torre.

Also, the Dodgers' third base coach, Larry Bowa, was the previous Phillies manager before Charlie Manuel joined the team.

Finally, Hudson's teammate, Manny Ramirez has two connections to Charlie Manuel. First, Ramirez played under Manuel for the Cleveland Indians when Manuel was the Tribe's hitting coach.

 

The second is through a player by the name of Shawon Dunston, who was Manny Ramirez' teammate in 1998 with the Indians, also during the time Manuel was the hitting coach.

 

Yet Dunston's linkage to Manuel goes further than this. Dunston, an outfielder who played for 18 seasons, was a member of the Chicago Cubs in 1985, the same year as Ron Cey. Cey, who was mentioned above within the Chase Utley connection, was a member of the 1974 Los Angeles Dodgers, just as Manuel was, along with Davey Lopes.

 

That’s it from Christian. This next list is from Richard Marsh aka “Vegas Rich.”

 

Rich has compiled quite the resume since joining B/R and I’m thrilled he joined in this task, especially since he’s a huge Mets fan and I cheer for the Phillies. But soon after I approached him with the idea, I started getting cold feet.

 

Hey, I’ve taken my vows—the last thing any of us needed was something else to be married to. But he hung in there and just like me, found that the research this project required was actually enjoyable. I’ll put my hat back on just so I can take it off for Rich too.

 

All-Star Picks from Vegas Rich

(Poe’s Note: Since Carlos Beltran was on the DL, Rich choose to do Carlos Lee).

 

Carlos Lee

 

Outfielder, Houston Astros

 

I’m finally getting the hang of this. Let’s take Carlos Lee. This is a bad boy hitter not to be confused with Derrick Lee who also hits for a ton. Derrick plays for the Cubs who may never win a World Series in this century.

 

Now Carlos, who swings the lumber for Houston (gee, I hope I didn’t get these two guys mixed up and I’m way too lazy to check it out) has a connection, ever so slight to Charlie Manuel.

 

Carlos Lee played with Carl Everett for the 2003 Chicago White Sox. Carl Everett played with Charlie Hough for the 1994 Florida Marlins. Charlie Hough played with Charlie Manuel for the 1974 Los Angeles Dodgers. See how easy that was. (Boy am I dense.)

 

 

Jason Marquis

 

Pitcher, Colorado Rockies

 

Jason Marquis is tied with two other pitchers for most wins in the majors right now at 11. Not too shabby, especially when he calls Coors Field his home park. He’s connected to Charlie Manuel this way. Jason played with Tom Glavine with the 2001 Atlanta Braves.

 

Glavine (traitor) played with Jerry Royster for the 1988 Braves and low and behold Jerry Royster played with Charlie Manuel on the 1975 Los Angeles Dodgers. Are you getting to see a pattern forming here?

 

 

Francisco Rodriguez

 

Pitcher, New York Mets

 

Lets move on to Francisco (K-Rod) Rodriguez (yeah!) and see if we can find some connection to Charlie. Oh no, can’t find one so I’ll make one up.

 

Charlie’s sister’s college roommate’s brother’s dad stopped at the same gas station in LA where at the next gas pump K-Rod’s auntie’s brother-in-law’s son was in a frenzy because he couldn’t find the tickets for game three of last year’s NLCS at Dodger Stadium.

 

When asked what he was looking for, he replied “I see your Swartz is as big as mine.” If you believe that, I have some bridge property to sell you in Brooklyn.

 

 

David Wright

 

Third Baseman, New York Mets

 

Now surely there’s a personal connection to Charlie Manuel right? None that I can find so I’ll make up one that is definitely more to be fact than fiction. David’s hitting instructor is Howard Johnson. HOJO’s manager in 1986 was Davey Johnson.

 

Davey became a manager with the Los Angeles Dodgers and as we know at some time in the mid-'70s, Charlie played for those same Dodgers.

 

There you go and I didn’t need any reference guide for that one.

 

 

Johan Santana

 

Pitcher, New York Mets

 

Now we have Johan Santana, the Mets ace and Charlie’s nightmare every time the Phillies have to face him. This too will ultimately come back to the Dodgers. Johan was a teammate with Ruben Sierra while playing for the 2006 Minnesota Twins.

 

Ruben played with Tom Paciorek (now that’s a name out of the past) for the 1986 Texas Rangers (they were pretty good back then; they just couldn’t beat the Yankees). Of course, Tommy played with Charlie with the 1974 Dodgers (what a surprise).

 

Three more to go.

 

 

Freddy Sanchez

 

Second Baseman, Pittsburgh Pirates

 

Let’s see what I can dig up on Freddy (soon to be traded) Sanchez. Freddy played with 100 year-old Jose Mesa for the 2005 Pittsburgh Pirates. Mesa played with Rick Dempsey for the 1992 Baltimore Orioles, and low and behold Rick Dempsey played with Charlie Manuel for the 1972 Minnesota Twins.

 

It would have been a lot shorter to say that Charlie managed Jose Mesa in Philadelphia a couple of years back but that would have been taking the easy road.

 

 

Miguel Tejada

 

Shortstop, Houston Astros

 

Moving on with this assignment, I had the good fortune to draw Miguel (how old am I?) Tejada. Let’s see where this goes. This is a good one. Miguel (we’re good friends now) sang with—NO—I mean played with Kenny Rogers for the 1999 Oakland Athletics.

 

Kenny, who is old as dirt, played with Charlie Hough for the 1989 Texas Rangers. Well, you already know the connection to Charlie Hough and Charlie Manuel (if you were paying any attention to this at all) but there’s just a little twist to this one.

 

No there isn’t. Gotcha. Both Charlie’s played for the 1974 Dodgers. (You are so easy.)

 

 

Ryan Zimmerman

 

Third Baseman, Washington Nationals

 

Last but not least, Ryan Zimmerman. This one is very cool. Lots of new names.

 

Ryan played with Tomakazu Okha (are you kidding me?) for the 2005 Washington Nationals (they really sucked). Okha (are you serious?) played with Tim Raines (now that was a five-tool player) for the 2001 Montreal Expos.

 

Tim played with another great player, Graig Nettles for the 1988 Expos and here’s the connection to Charlie. Nettles played with Charlie Manuel for the 1969 Minnesota Twins.

 

 

That’s it for Vegas Rich. You’re halfway there. The list of guys I was fortunate enough to review is below.

 

Mo’ from Poe

 

First I have to credit Baseball-Reference.com and the MLB pages for all the teams. Then I’ll credit the great Oz for giving me temporary use of a brain. And now, I’ll give you my list.

 

 

Ryan Braun

 

Outfielder, Milwaukee Brewers

 

We could start with the association between Charlie Manuel and the Milwaukee Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun for the fact that Braun played in the 2008 NLDS championship that the Phillies took from the Crew.

 

But did you know when Charlie Manuel played for the Minnesota Twins in 1972, he played with a guy named Steve Braun? Bet you didn’t care either. And Steve and Charlie both bat left and throw right. It’s also true that Steve is the name of Ryan Braun’s youngest brother who was drafted last year by the Milwaukee Brewers.

 

But the 2009 MLB All-Star, Ryan Joseph Braun, shouldn’t be mistaken for Ryan Zachary Braun who’s an MLB right-handed pitcher even though the Brewer’s outfielder has recently been reprimanded for criticizing his own team’s pitching.

 

Shame on him.

 

 

Raul Ibanez

 

Outfielder, Philadelphia Phillies

 

Of course Raul is the “Pride of the Phillies.” Literally. He’s on the “Pride” lithograph this year. But did you know Charlie Manuel was drafted by the Minnesota Twins as an amateur free agent in 1963 but didn’t debut in the majors until 1969?

 

That’s the year he played with Graig Nettles. Then Nettles went on to play with Jeff Huson in 1988 with the Montreal Expos, and Huson played with Raul Ibanez for the Seattle Mariners in 1998.

 

And all four players bat left and throw right.

 

Raul Ibanez was also a favorite of Pat Gillick when he was in management for the Mariners from 2000-2005. Gillick was instrumental in bringing Ibanez to Philadelphia for a possible career record-breaking season with the signing of a 3 year $30 million contract.

 

On a further note, Raul Ibanez and Charlie Manuel both appeared in articles I’ve posted on B/R for their alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs.

 

Betcha didn’t know that.

 

 

Heath Bell

 

Pitcher, San Diego Padres

 

I imagine Heath Bell was voted into the All-Star game because of his 1.49 ERA over 34 games. Or the fact that he’s one of the league’s leading closers with 23 saves in 24 opportunities in his first full year in that position since San Diego traded Trevor Hoffman to the Brewers.

 

He had planned on taking his kids to Disneyland during the break, but Orlando will have to take a back seat to St. Louis. Wow, if I had a quarter for every time I said that.

 

In 2004 Bell pitched for the New York Mets along with another great—left-hander, Tom Glavine. Glavine debuted in the MLB at the age of 21 and had a career that spanned 22 years.

 

He’s a two-time Cy Young award winner, and one of only 24 pitchers in major league history to earn 300 career wins. As we all know, Glavine was released by the Braves on the same day that Randy Johnson chalked up his 300th career win.

 

Glavine pitched in the league so long he played for the Atlanta Braves in 1988 with Jerry Royster. That was Royster’s last year playing major league baseball, but earlier in his career he was on the Los Angeles Dodgers roster with an outfielder named Charlie Manuel who was finishing up his last year in pro ball in 1975.

 

 

Chad Billingsley

Jonathan Broxton

 

Pitchers, Los Angeles Dodgers

 

Here’s a two-fer. During their stints with the Dodgers, both Billingsley and Broxton pitched with four-time consecutive Cy Young award winner and eight-time All-Star, Greg Maddux.

 

But you might not know that Maddux played with Davey Lopes on the 1986 Chicago Cubs which finished with a losing record of 70-90, putting them in fifth position of six teams in the NL East–their division at the time.

 

Then Lopes played with Charlie Manuel for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1974, the year the Dodgers won their division and the NL championship but lost to the Athletics in the World Series, four games to one. Lopes, who led the national league with 77 stolen bases in 1975 and 63 in 1976, is 25th on the all-time stolen base leaders list with a career total of 557.

 

Now he’s the first base coach for the Philadelphia Phillies, hanging with Charlie in the dugout and coaxing guys to second base with his stopwatch.

 

How’s that for a connection.

 

 

Matt Cain

 

Pitcher, San Francisco Giants

 

You may have known that Matt Cain had a seven-game winning streak this season that contributed to his 10-2 record, his 2.42 season ERA, and his election to the All-Star game. And you might have guessed that Matt played with Barry Bonds for the Giants in 2005.

 

But what you probably don’t know is while Bonds may have been playing enhanced ball in 1986 for the Pittsburgh Pirates, right-handed pitcher, Rick Rhoden, was also on the roster.

 

That was the year Rhoden pitched his way to an All-Star roster spot, tied for fifth in Cy Young voting in the NL, and won a Silver Slugger award. And in 1984 he had an eleven-game hitting streak (yes, hitting streak), one of the longest in history for a pitcher.

 

In 1974, Rhoden played his first year in the majors for the Los Angeles Dodgers with a guy who was one year from retiring–Charlie Manuel. Charlie only played four games that year, as did Rhoden, so I’d like to allege that he and Charlie found plenty of time to talk.

 

Maybe Charlie, the man who’s been known to start a debate anywhere over philosophies of hitting, helped him out with his batting.

 

Hey, it could’ve happened.

 

 

Hunter Pence

 

Outfielder, Houston Astros

 

In 2007, Hunter Pence managed a 3rd place finish in overall voting for National League Rookie of the Year. Of course he trailed fellow 2009 All-Star Ryan Braun who was ROTY and runner-up Troy Tulowitzki by over 100 votes. But his performance was more comparable than the vote suggests. And now he’s playing in his first career All-Star game.

 

Good for him.

 

In his first major league season, he had the honor of playing with seven-time All-Star, Craig Biggio. That would be the three-time Golden Glove and five-time Silver Slugger’s last year in baseball. In his illustrious career, he played in six NL Division Series, two NL Championship Series, and one World Series but never earned a ring.

 

Biggio also played with Rick Rhoden for Houston in 1989, and we already know Rhoden’s 1974 connection to Charlie Manuel.

 

At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

 

 

Justin Upton

 

Outfielder, Arizona Diamondbacks

 

Justin and his brother BJ (Tampa Bay Devil Rays) are the highest drafted brothers in baseball. Justin joined the 1998 expansion club, the Diamondbacks in 2007, the year they won the NL West but lost the Championship to 1993 expansion team the Colorado Rockies.

 

2007 was also the first year veteran pitcher, 10-time All-Star, four-time Cy Young winner, World Series ring bearer, and now 300 club member, Randy Johnson, came back to Arizona after an unproductive two-year run with the Yankees.

 

I hope Justin got his autograph.

 

Anyway, Johnson has played in the big leagues so long he was a teammate on the 1988 Montreal Expos with Graig Nettles.

 

That’s not the first time we heard that name. Charlie played with Nettles in Minnesota in 1969.

 

It’s a small world.

 

 

Shane Victorino

 

Outfielder, Philadelphia Phillies

 

What can I say? I’m a huge Phillies fan, a huge hustle fan, and a huge fan of Shane Victorino. You could say I was Shane-ing when Shane-ing wasn’t cool. There’s nothing that toots my horn more than trying, and Shane is the embodiment of try. I just wish he’d try to show us more of his body.

 

I’m sorry, was I thinking out loud?

 

Shane was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the sixth round of the 1999 amateur draft. Wait, that sounds familiar. Wasn’t Chase Utley drafted by the Dodgers in an amateur draft? Yup. In the second round in 1997. Both were drafted straight out of high school but Shane went to the minors while Chase became a scholar.

 

Anyway, the connection is, Chase Utley is undeniably Charlie Manuel’s favorite player. But since Shane’s return from the World Baseball Classic where he got absolutely zero play time and came back with a healthy coat of rust, he’s done nothing but accumulate stats.

 

Currently he’s second in the league in runs with 62 and hits at 107, he’s tied for second in triples, and he’s batting .308. But there’s no doubt he won the last spot on the NL All-Star roster due to his performance in the days preceding the close of voting.

 

And at 5’9”, Shane proves size doesn’t matter.

 

 

Jayson Werth

 

Outfielder, Philadelphia Phillies

 

I could just say Charlie’s connection to Jayson is personal–Charlie personally picked Werth to replace the DL’ed Carlos Beltran, but did you also know Werth played with former Phillies pitcher, Tom “Flash” Gordon, who’s played for 21 seasons in the MLB?

 

That’s such a long career that in 1988 Gordon played with Kansas City Royal’s first baseman and designated hitter, Bill Buckner, who played ball with Charlie Manuel in his last year in the MLB in 1975 for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

 

Also, Jayson’s stepfather, Dennis Werth, played five seasons in the MLB, his grandfather, Dick Schofield, played 21 years in the majors, and his uncle, Richard Craig Schofield, played for 14 years. But Jayson’s 2009 All-Star appearance is the first MLB award ever earned by any of his family of major league baseball players.

 

And he has Charlie Manuel to thank for that.

 

 

Brad Hawpe

 

Outfielder, Colorado Rockies

 

Brad Hawpe can connect to Charlie Manuel ironically through more Charlie’s. Hawpe was a member of the Rockies when Charles Johnson played his only year with Colorado in 2004. Charlie Johnson played with Charlie Hough for the 1994 Florida Marlins, and Hough played with the last Charlie—Manuel for the 1975 Los Angeles Dodgers.

 

But another connection is that Brad Hawpe was 24th in MVP voting the year Jimmy Rollins was selected National League MVP in 2007, and Rollins was a member of the 2005 All-Star squad with Albert Pujols, who is making his eighth All-Star appearance in nine seasons by playing on Charlie Manuel’s NL team this year.

 

 

Brian McCann

 

Catcher, Atlanta Braves

 

Brian McCann was playing for the Braves with Julio Franco in 2005, and Franco has played with the same Charlie Hough that connects to Brad Hawpe. Only this time, Hough was playing with the 1990 Texas Rangers. Over Hough’s 25 seasons in the MLB, he was elected to the All-Star roster only once–in 1986 while he was still in Texas.

 

McCann, in contrast, has appeared in four All-Star games in his five seasons in the majors. And both Charlie Manuel and Brian McCann bat left and hit right.

 

And McCann, just like 2009 All-Star team member, Jason Marquis, played with Tom Glavine for the Atlanta Braves. As Vegas Rich pointed out earlier, Glavine played with Jerry Royster for the 1988 Braves, and Jerry Royster played with Charlie Manuel on the 1975 Los Angeles Dodgers.

 

It’s definitely a small world.

 

 

Last but not least, we were joined by the immortal Bob Warja. Bob is the Chicago Cubs B/R Community Leader, he’s ranked No. 1 among Chicago Cubs and MLB writers, and he sits among the front page top writers on B/R.

 

If there was an All-Star game for writers, Bob would be there huffing and puffing, so you can imagine how humbled I was to have him join us.

 

And as a seasoned writer (like Vegas Rich), he took very little time to make his points.

 

Bob’s Job

 

Yadier Molina

Catcher

Ryan Franklin

Pitcher

Albert Pujols

First Baseman

St. Louis Cardinals

 

Yadier Molina, Ryan Franklin, and Albert Pujols have all played their entire careers for Tony La Russa. Tony was born on the fourth in 1944, just like Charlie Manuel, albeit in different months of the year.

 

Another similarity is that La Russa and Manuel both were signed as amateur free agents, each played six seasons in the majors, and both finished their Bob Uecker-type careers with a batting average below the Mendoza line. Oh, and each has managed a World Series winner.

 

 

Francisco Cordero

Pitcher, Cincinnati Reds

 

Francisco Cordero plays for Dusty Baker with the Reds and both Baker and Manuel were with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1975. Manuel was just finishing up his career, while Baker had been traded by the Braves to the Dodgers after the season ended.

 

 

Ted Lilly

Pitcher, Chicago Cubs

 

Did you know that both Ted Lilly and Charlie Manuel were born on Jan. 4? Do you care? Are you even still reading this? Anyway, both were with the Dodgers organization, and Lilly plays for Lou Piniella, who, like Manuel, has won a division title in each league. Each has one a pennant and one World Series title as manager.

 

 

Prince Fielder

First Baseman, Milwaukee Brewers

 

Prince Fielder’s father, Cecil Fielder, played in Japan just like Charlie Manuel.

 

How’s that for short and sweet.

 

 

The End

 

That’s it. Thanks for reading. Again, kudos to the guys who helped. I couldn’t have done it without them.

 

Now I must go rest my brain.

 

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