Jerry Manuel might only be the Mets manager for the next few months, but already he has proved himself a rightful heir to Shea’s legacy in a way that Willie Randolph never was. The man knows how to entertain the press and the fans. After his first game as Mets manager, he said, after pulling Jose Reyes from a game, “I told [Reyes] next time he does that I’m going to get my blade out and cut him,” Manuel said. “I’m a gangster. You go gangster on me, I’m going to have to get you. You do that again, I’m going to cut you right on the field.” He was kidding. We think.
Whereas Randolph had that Yankees’ corporate, We’re All Professionals Here attitude they prefer in the Bronx, Manuel, whether he wins or not, already feels like a Shea guy. It’s an impressive legacy:
Mets’ first manager at the wizened age of 72. Looking at two rookies on his awful team, he said, “See that fellow over there? He’s 20 years old. In ten years he has a chance to be a star. Now, that fellow over there, he’s 20, too. In ten years he has a chance to be 30.”
Managed the Mets, a team that was in last place midway through the season, to the 1973 World Series. His most legendary phrase came not when he was with the Yankees but with the Mets: “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
The last Mets manager to win a World Series, he was a computer whiz (as much as you could be in the mid-eighties). He brazenly declared, at the start of the 1986 season, that the Mets would “dominate” everyone they played. He was right.
A smiling goofball of energy, Valentine ran roughshod over anything that stood in his way, before taking his act to Japan. Once ejected mid-game, he changed into a T-shirt and reentered the dugout wearing a fake mustache. It didn’t work.