Girardi excited to be in Philadelphia to manage the Phillies

Joe Girardi introduced as Philadelphia Phillies manager | Philadelphia Baseball Review
Sitting at a makeshift stage inside Pass and Stow in Citizens Bank Park, Joe Girardi cracked a smile as he told a story about asking former Phillies slugger Ryan Howard for an autograph for his son. Moments earlier he spoke fondly of former stars John Kruk and Darren Daulton.

It was just one of several examples Girardi gave on Monday of his affection for Philadelphia while being introduced as the 55th manager in Phillies franchise history.

“This is a special place,” Girardi said. “I can’t tell you how excited I am to be here because I feel like this is part of who I am.”

Girardi comes to Philadelphia with a winning pedigree. He managed the Yankees for a decade and collected 910 wins during his tenure, the sixth-most win by a manager in franchise history. He also led the Yanks to the 2009 World Series, beating the Phillies.

When general manager Matt Klentak embarked on his search to find a replacement for Gabe Kapler, Girardi stood as a solid candidate. He possesses a blend of the old school mentality with a fondness for analytics and metrics.

"Having had 10 years in a big market in New York like Joe did with a World Series and six playoff appearances, his résumé really speaks for itself," Klentak said. "But beyond that I can tell you that when we talk to people about Joe, people that he's known in his career, people that he's worked with, the players that have played for him, to a man or a person, every one of them would begin that conversation talking about what a good person Joe is and then at the end of that conversation they would conclude with: 'Don't forget that he's an incredible person.' I think when you're making a hire like this, it's a pretty good move to bet on a quality individual, and I really think we're getting one of the best."

Girardi peppered his remarks with stories connecting him with Philadelphia. He spoke about his playing debut with the Cubs which came against the Phillies. He played his first road game as a Major Leaguer in Veterans Stadium, and former Phils manager Pete Mackanin - who was in the Cubs organization at the time as a Minor League manager - gave him word of his promotion to the big leagues.

He knew he was the fan favorite to land the position in Philly.

"It means a lot to me that the fans are behind me," Girardi said. "I'm well aware of the passion for the great game of baseball here. I've lived it as a player and as a manager. I know the importance of winning here. I had a chance to compete against a great team with Charlie Manuel here in 2009, and it was a great place to come watch a game. The passionate fans of the Phillies were great -- they were not easy to play against -- and I want it to be that way for many years to come."
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BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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