Today in Tribe History: July 11, 2002

The Indians fire manager Charlie Manuel and name third base coach Joel Skinner as the club’s interim manager after a 39-47 start to the season has Cleveland nine and a half games out of the American League Central Division race.

In the final year of his contract, Manuel issued an ultimatum to first year general manager Mark Shapiro during the All-Star break. Manuel wanted to know if he would be returning to the dugout the following season, while Shapiro, who had inherited Manuel from former team GM John Hart, wanted to wait to make the decision at year’s end

“We’re in an awkward transitional period between having a team that we thought could contend to a club that will be rebuilding next season,” Shapiro was quoted by The Associated Press. “And I wasn’t ready, in that environment, to make that commitment to Charlie. But I feel very strongly that I wanted him to be our manager for the rest of this year and I wanted to consider him to be our long-term manager in the off-season.”

With hand forced, the manager and organization parted ways.

“I wanted some answers,” shared Manuel with The AP that day. “I didn’t want to be in limbo.”

Manuel’s club won 90 games in 2000 and 91 games in 2001, winning the AL Central crown before an early exit in the ALDS. Skinner could not right the Tribe, leading them to a 35-41 record down the stretch. The club finished 74-88, in third place in the division, and Skinner was replaced following the season by Eric Wedge.

Manuel eventually returned to a managerial role in 2005 with the Philadelphia Phillies, leading them back to the playoffs and a World Series title.

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