Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Charlie Manuel

In the United States, Charles Fuqua Manuel was a virtual unknown.

And rightfully so.

The 6-foot-4, 200 pound outfielder played in the big leagues with the Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Dodgers for parts of six seasons, but failed to hit his weight.

However, in the Land of the Rising Sun, Manuel was a super star.

To Japanese baseball fans, the hot-tempered redhead was known as “Aka Oni” or "Red Devil."

Manuel played in Japan for six seasons, from 1976 through 1981, averaging 31 home runs per year. He was the first foreign born player to belt over 40 home runs in a single season, a feat he accomplished twice. In 1979, he was named Pacific League MVP after batting .324 with 37 four-baggers and 94 RBI despite missing six weeks of the regular season with a broken jaw suffered during a beanball incident. He was also named to three Best Nine squads.

After his playing days were over, Manuel managed the Cleveland Indians from 2000 to 2002 and has managed the Philadelphia Phillies since 2005.


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