Phillies manager Charlie Manuel is a Harmon Killebrew admirer. Here is a poem that Manuel wrote when he was riding the bench behind Killebrew as a member of manager Bill Rigney's Minnesota Twins in the 1970s.
The poem appeared on the Cleveland Indians' Web site when Manuel was their manager.
It was a warm day in August when history was made,
And the fans in the boxes were looking for shade.
The bases were loaded, it was the last inning.
From the sound of the crowd, you knew we weren't winning.
When out of the dugout came No. 3,
The last hope for the Twins it was sure to be.
Now legend tells of Casey at the bat,
But today it was the Killer who tipped his hat.
Cursing and swearing came from the stands,
When Harmon was waved back by Rigney's hand.
An astonishing look came over the Brew's face,
When Rigney said, "Manuel is taking your place."
A disbelieving look as he turned around,
Placed his bat in the rack without a sound.
Then from the bench came No. 9,
Who'd been warming the pine for a long, long time.
As he stepped from the dugout came a yell from the stands,
"You can't hit, Manuel, the Killer's our man."
Never before in history had they pinch-hit for the Brew,
Especially with some hillbilly hitting .182.
This was a mockery, a dirty rotten shame,
To pinch-hit for a man who's a sure Hall of Fame.
But Charlie heard not a word as he strode to the plate.
He only noticed the crowd's eyes; they were filled with hate.
"God, help me this one time," kept going through his mind.
"If I ever get a hit, let it be this time."
Jim Palmer looked in and thought, "This should be a cinch,
I'll throw three by this rider of the bench."
Down came the ball with a little white glare,
As Manuel stood watching for he knew it was there.
"Strike one," came the call from the man in blue,
And four pitches later it was 3 and 2.
Now everything rode on the very last pitch.
Would Charlie stay a poor boy or would he suddenly be rich?
The crack of the bat and a long drive to right,
The back of Blair's uniform is the only thing in sight.
The roar from the stands gave a deafening scream . . .