Philadelphia, PA – Charlie Manuel entertained the hosts of the MLB Radio Network yesterday with a heartwarming, country yarn about the time in 1972 he shredded every single ligament in all-star short stop Bobby Grich’s knee breaking up a double play turn in a regular season game against the Cardinals.
The jovial manager defended Chase Utley’s actions from Saturday night, describing his style of play as “hard nosed” and “tougher than a bronco with a burr in its saddle.”
“He’s one of the best I’ve ever coached. He made some of the prettiest plays I’ve ever seen this side of the Blue Ridge Mountains,” Manuel said in a delightful southern drawl that made so many fall in love with him in Philadelphia.
“Happens all the time, and if you ain’t playing that way, well you ain’t getting on the field for most teams. Reminds me of the time I took out ol’ Bobby Grich on a double play back in the summer of 1971…or actually, it was the spring of 1972. This old memory is fading faster than ash on a miner’s face after quitting time,” he said.
Manuel described charging into second base on a ground ball to short stop and sliding hard into Grich’s plant leg.
“That boy hollered longer and louder than a hog going to the slaughter house. I swear on the memory of my old Holstein, Betty, who I loved so dear that I heard every ligament in that left knee of his rip off his bone. I felt bad for a minute or two, but then scored on a double by Roddy (Carew) to put us up 2-1 and forgot all about it.”
Manuel said he reached out to Grich, who was placed into traction that night, and brought him some moonshine from his very own still.
“We had a hell of a time that night getting all sorts of jiggered on that White Lightning shine. I even brought him a dancing girl as a way of saying I was sorry. We were great friends after that, still are to this day.”
The radio hosts thanked Manuel for a great interview and remarked on what a fabulous, lovely, warm man he is.