Major League Managers with 27 World Series Titles Connected to Puerto Rico’s Winter League (Part IX)

Héctor Valle and Charlie Manuel with Mayaguez

Nineteen Major League managers who once played or managed in the Puerto Rico Winter League (PRWL) or barnstormed in Puerto Rico, led their big league teams to a combined 27 World Series crowns,  from José Méndez, who led the 1924 Kansas City Monarchs to the first Negro World Series (aka 1924 Colored World Series) title, to Bruce Bochy, who managed the San Francisco Giants to 2010, 2012, and 2014 titles, plus the 2023 Texas Rangers to their first World Series title. Part VIII covered Jack McKeon (2003 Florida Marlins). Part IX transitions to Charlie Manuel (2008 Philadelphia Phillies). Manuel played for the 1971-72 Mayagüez Indios. Manuel was born in Northfork, West Virginia, on January 4, 1944. He was one of 13 children and grew up in Southwest Virginia. His height and playing weight were listed at 6-4, 195 pounds. He batted left and threw right. Andy Sturgill wrote his SABR bio at:

Manuel’s Connection to the PRWL and Japan’s Central and Pacific League

Manuel performed well for a 1971-72 Mayagüez Indios ballclub, slugging 12 homers for the fifth-place Tribe (32-37). Willie Montañez’s 15 homers surpassed Manuel’s dozen round-trippers. San Juan’s Milt May hit 11 as did Arecibo’s Jim Hicks. San Juan’s Richard Zisk was fifth with 10 homers. Manuel contrasted PRWL fans with those in Japan when he pulverized the pitching in the league. “The Puerto Rico fans are louder,” said Manuel. “In Japan, they love it and keep up with it on the radio and TV. I think fans have more knowledge about the way the game is supposed to be played in Puerto Rico, and show more enthusiasm.”

From 1976-1981, Manuel posted a .303/.385/.604 slash line, and .988 OPS, with the Yakult Swallows (Central League) and Kintetsu Buffaloes (Pacific League). Roger Repoz, his 1976 and 1977 Swallows teammate, and Yomiuri Giants hurler Clyde Wright were involved in a 1976 altercation with members of the East German men’s Olympic hockey team at a Tokyo disco. Repoz said it was strictly verbal, denying reports that a fight took place. Manuel, in 621 league games, hit 189 homers and drove in 491. His 2,127 AB divided by 189 homers equaled one HR per 11.25 AB. Manuel and Repoz made more money playing in Japan, compared to the majors. Repoz (1973-1977) made $36,000 (USD) a year in Japan, compared to his highest big league salary–$27,000 for the 1972 California Angels—noting: “They paid for everything; I had an apartment year-round; the lifestyle was good; they treated you like a star.”

Manuel as a Big Leaguer and Minor Leaguer

In parts of six big league seasons, Manuel hit four homers and drove in 43 with a .198 BA. His final 15 big-league AB, in 15 games, were with the 1975 Los Angeles Dodgers. He posted solid numbers for 1974 and 1975 Albuquerque, the Dodgers top farm club. In 1974, he cracked 30 homers and drove in 102 for the Dukes, with a .329/.433/.600 slash line, and 1.032 OPS. Three of his 1974 and 1975 Albuquerque Dukes teammates were Orlando Álvarez, Henry Cruz, and Iván de Jesús, who starred in the PRWL. (Cruz was from St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands but played as a native in the PRWL. The author met Cruz and de Jesús before a March 1974 spring training game in Daytona Beach, Florida, between the Dodgers and Montreal Expos.) Manuel’s career minor-league stats were: 133 homers, 624 RBIs, and a .290/.374/.483 slash line, with a .857 OPS.

Success as Minor League Manager and Cleveland Hitting Coach

Manuel’s low-key demeanor and pleasant personality were reasons for his managing success. His interest in winter ball was another plus. He made scouting trips to Puerto Rico during the 1992-93 season to monitor the progress of Jim Thome and Wayne Kirby with the Ponce Lions. Thome played in 47 of Ponce’s 48 games, going 37 for 145 (.255 BA), with six doubles, two triples, two homers, and 21 RBIs. “This league has helped my game and will be a boost to my big league career,” recalled Thome in December 1992. Manuel echoed these thoughts: “Thome improved with Ponce. I managed him with [1993] Charlotte and he was our International League MVP.” Thome’s Charlotte slash line was .332/.441/.585, with a 1.026 OPS. His .332 BA and 102 RBIs led the league. Charlotte teammate Sam Horn, the DH, led the loop with 38 homers. His slash line was: .269/.361/.600, with a .960 OPS. Manuel also managed Charlotte’s Manny Ramírez, before the latter’s promotion to Cleveland. Ramírez slugged 14 homers in 145 AB, with a .317/.424/.690 slash line, and 1.113 OPS. Table I includes Manuel’s Minor League managing summary.

1983Wisconsin Rapids TwinsMidwestAMinnesota71-67.514
1984Orlando TwinsSouthernAAMinnesota79-65.549
1985Orlando TwinsSouthernAAMinnesota72-71.503
1986Toledo Mud HensInternationalAAAMinnesota62-77.446
1987Portland BeaversInternationalAAAMinnesota45-96.319
1990Colorado Springs Sky SoxPacific Coast League (PCL)AAACleveland76-67.531
1991Colorado Springs Sky SoxPCLAAACleveland72-67.518
1992Colorado Springs Sky SoxPCL (champions)AAACleveland84-57.596
1993Charlotte KnightsInternational (champions)AAACleveland86-55..610
TotalsTotals (9 Seasons)   647-622.510
1990Post-Season AAA 2-3.400
1991Post-Season AAA 1-3.333
1992Post-Season AAA 6-4.600
1993Post-Season AAA 6-3.667
 Post-Season (1990-1993)Two Championships  15-13.537

Table I: Charlie Manuel’s Minor League Managing Record

Sources: Baseball Reference, Charlie Manuel’s SABR Bio, Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, Edited by

Lloyd Johnson and Miles Wolff, Published by Baseball America, 2007.

From 1995-1999, Manuel served as Cleveland’s hitting coach. The 1995 Indians (100-44) led the AL with 840 runs (5.83/game), 207 homers, and 132 steals. Their .291/.361/.479 slash line and .839 OPS were tops in the AL. Many of them plied their trade in the Dominican Republic (LIDOM), PRWL, Venezuela Winter League, or Mexican Pacific (Winter) League. Table II highlights the 1995 Indians hitting stats including Manny Ramírez, Thome, Kirby, and others.

Tony Peña^C9126325691505281.262.302.376.679
Paul Sorrento1B104323507614025791.235.336.511.847
Carlos Baerga#2B13555787175282159011.314.355452.807
Jim Thome#3B1374529214229325734.314.438.558.996
Omar Vizquel>SS1365428714428065629.266.333.351.684
Albert Belle#LF143546121173521501265.317.401.6901.091
Kenny LoftonCF11848193149221375354.310.362.453.815
Manny Ramírez^RF13748485149261311076.308.402.558.960
Eddie Murray#DH1134366814121021825.323.375.516.891
Sandy Alomar Jr.#C6620332616010353.300.332.478.810
Wayne Kirby#OF101188293910211410.
Herbert Perry1B5216223511313231.315.376.463.839
Álvaro Espinoza>IF661431536402170.252.264.322.585
Dave Winfield<DH46115112250241.
Rubén Amaro Jr.>OF286051230171.200.273.300.573
Others (6) 6473172230390.301.354.466.820
Team Totals 1445028840146127923207803132.291.361.479.839

Table II: 1995 Cleveland Indians Hitting Statistics

^Played in LIDOM. #Played in the PRWL. >Played in Venezuela. <Played in Mexico. Source: Baseball Reference.

Success as MLB Skipper

Manuel led Cleveland to a 2001 AL Central Division Title before the Indians were defeated by Seattle, three games to two, in the Division Series despite their 17-2 win in Game Three, at Jacobs Field, on October 13, 2001. The Indians unleashed a 19-hit attack behind CC Sabathia in posting their most lopsided post-season win in franchise history. John Rocker pitched a scoreless ninth for Cleveland. The #3 through #6 hitters—Roberto Alomar, Juan González, Jim Thome, and Ellis Burks played in the PRWL. Their line-up with game highlights included:

  • Kenny Lofton, CF, 1-for-3, two runs, two RBIs, two walks, a HR
  • Omar Vizquel, SS, 4-for-6, two runs, six RBIs, a double and triple
  • Roberto Alomar, 2B, 3-for-4, two runs, three RBIs, two doubles, two walks,
  • Juan González, RF, 4-for-6, one run, three RBIs, two doubles, a HR, an OF assist
  • Jim Thome, 1B, 2-for-6, one run, a HR, one RBI
  • Ellis Burks, DH, 1-for-4, two runs, a walk
  • Travis Fryman, 3B, 0-for-4, two runs, a walk
  • Russell Branyan, LF, 1-for-3, one run
  • Jolbert Cabrera, PH-LF, 1-for-1, one run, one RBI
  • Einar Díaz, C, 2-for-4, 3 runs, one RBI, one walk.

Thome’s seven “full non-strike” big league seasons (1996-2002) with Manuel as hitting coach (1996-99) or manager (2000-02) resulted in an average of 40 homers and 108 RBIs per season. Fast forward to Philadelphia, after Manuel took Philadelphia’s reins in 2005. Three key Phillies—under Manuel’s leadership/influence—had their best hitting seasons in 2006 (Ryan Howard) or 2007 (Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley) per Table III.

Table III: Three Phillies Best Seasons under Manager Charlie Manuel

Ryan Howard#2006159581104182251581490.313.425.6591.084
Jimmy Rollins^20071627161392123820309441.296.344.531.875
Chase Utley2007132530104176485221039.332.410.566.976

#2006 NL MVP. ^2007 NL MVP. Source: Baseball Reference.

Philadelphia won the 2008 Fall Classic in Manuel’s fourth season at their helm. J.C. Romero, from Río Piedras, Puerto Rico, won Games Three and Five, in relief, on October 25 and 27. Cole Hamels (1-0, 3.09 ERA, in 13 innings) was the MVP. In 44 innings versus Tampa Bay, Phillies hurlers were 4-1, with a 3.09 ERA. They fanned 36; walked 10; and, had a 0.977 WHIP. Hitting-wise, the Phillies outscored the Rays, 24-15, and outhomered Tampa Bay, nine to four. Ryan Howard posted a .286/.375/.762 slash line, with a 1.137 OPS. Howard slugged three homers and drove in six. Jayson Werth also hit three homers with six RBIs, along with his .444/.583/.778 slash line, and 1.361 OPS. Catcher Carlos Ruiz went 6-for-16 for the Phillies.

The New York Yankees deprived Charlie Manuel’s Phillies of back-to-back World Series titles, winning the 2009 Fall Classic, four games to two. Hideki Matsui earned the MVP Award with his .615 BA, three homers, and eight RBIs. Philadelphia’s Chase Utley became the second player in Series history to hit five homers, following Reggie Jackson’s five round-trippers against the Los Angeles Dodgers, in 1977. Houston’s George Springer, whose mother is from Puerto Rico, hit five homers in the 2017 World Series, a seven-game one between the Astros and Dodgers. Table IV compares the hitting exploits of Jackson, Utley, and Springer in each Fall Classic.

Table IV: Three Players with Five Homers in One Fall Classic

Reggie JacksonNYY1977620109158.450.5421.2501.792
George SpringerTOR2017729811357.379.4711.0001.471
Chase UtleyPHI200962176158.286.4001.0481.448

Source: Baseball Reference.

Table V summarizes Manuel’s big-league managing record. He won nearly 55 percent of all MLB games managed and 57 percent of MLB post-season contests.

Table V: Charlie Manuel’s MLB Managing Record

2005 PhiladelphiaNational88-74.543
Totals12 Seasons 992-819.548
2001ALDSvs. Seattle2-3.400
2007NLDSvs. Colorado0-3.000
2008NLDSvs. Milwaukee3-1.750
2008NLCSvs. Dodgers4-1.800
2008World Seriesvs. Tampa Bay4-1.800
2009NLDSvs. Colorado3-1.750
2009NLCSvs. Dodgers4-1.800
2009World Seriesvs. Yankees2-4.333
2010NLDSvs. Cincinnati3-01.000
2010NLCSvs. SF Giants2-4.333
2011NLDSvs. St. Louis2-3.400
TotalsMLB Post-Season 29-22.569

ALDS: American League Division Series. NLDS: National League

Division Series. NLCS: National League Championship Series.

Source: Baseball Reference.


The author was in Philadelphia, for a June 14-18, 2008 Travel and Tourism Research Association Conference. Monday evening, June 16, he went to Citizens Bank Park, to see a Phillies 8-4 win versus 2007 defending World Series Champions—Boston Red Sox. Cole Hamels won it, and Bartolo “Big Sexy” Colón took the loss. Ryan Howard hit two homers for the Phils, in front of 45,026 fans. Charlie Manuel matched wits with Terry Francona, Boston’s skipper. Part X will summarize Francona’s winter ball playing/managing experience in the 1980s and 1990s, and 2004 and 2007 World Series titles managing Boston. It will include selected PRWL experiences of John Farrell (2013 Boston) and Alex Cora (2018 Boston),


With gratitude to Charlie Manuel, Roger Repoz, and Jim Thome. Jorge Colón Delgado did the editing and photo placements.

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