Charlie Manuel

Charlie Manuel packs his shotgun shells with loose-leaf tobacco. That way it just stings a little.

Charlie Manuel once benched all of West Virginia for not hustling.

While Loretta Lynn is rightly known as the “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” Charlie Manuel is just as rightly known as “Good Buddy to the Shenandoah Valley.”

Thanks to Charlie Manuel’s soothing presence and weather-predictive hinge joints, he is on occasion able to talk a tornado back into the clouds. “Hold on now, bossman,” he says to the approaching F4 while sitting in his idling pickup with the driver’s side window rolled down. “Let’s you and me figure this out. Hop in and we’ll take a ride.”

Charlie Manuel, while playing for the Kintetsu Buffaloes, walked into one of Tokyo’s finest restaurants for the first time, and the staff knew immediately to prepare him an off-menu dish of squirrel meat and dumplings. He said upon sopping up the last swaths of gravy with a flaky buttermilk biscuit, “では、神を恐れるチャウチャウ、小さい相棒をありがとうございました。 すべての右である、知っている y’all ですか?”

When Charlie Manuel needs to clear his head, he takes his black, street-illegal 1955 Olds 88 — the one with the aftermarket Piper J-3 Cub engine, which he and Rebel Dabney towed out of the junkyard with a battleship chain — out on the rural route and opens her up just a bit.

Charlie Manuel would probably be able to relax a bit more if he didn’t have a vast haul of corn liquor in the trunk and strap-bolted to the undercarriage of that black, street-illegal 1955 Olds 88.

Prolly be okay, though, since Charlie Manuel is deputized in every county that the creek runs through.

Did you see that shit? Charlie Manuel gunned her at the crest of that hill and easily cleared that doe and that opossum crossing the road. Woo-wee shit.

Charlie Manuel has, for several years running, been voted Meanest Sumbitch and Nicest Sumbitch in the Valley. Which one he presents you with pretty much depends on you.

Charlie Manuel would punch his way out of this dead-end town, ‘cept Charlie Manuel has always had a thing for dead-end towns.

The next time a jurisdictional authority doesn’t survey a mounting disaster and mutter, “God Almighty Damn. Better call Charlie,” will be the first.

Ideally, he knows that the only way to get aholt of Charlie Manuel is by CB radio.

(This piece originally appeared at FanGraphs. It has since been revised and made even worse, probably.)

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