Manuel and most of his family gathered at his boyhood home in his quaint hometown to say goodbye to his mother, June Manuel, who passed away Oct. 10 at the age of 87. There was a viewing Thursday and a funeral service Friday morning."I put a Phillies hat in the casket," Manuel said. "If she, mom, can help me in any way she can, I'm going to call on her to do it." Saying goodbye was the hardest part. "When I looked up in the church and saw [pictures of] my family when we were young, that's tough. That's the way life is," Manuel said. "They had pictures of us and my mom when she was young." With Citizens Bank Park as his sanctuary, Manuel said he has no problem focusing on the game once the first pitch is thrown. "Anytime the game starts, I have no trouble getting up into the game," Manuel said. "A lot of times, when [the game] is over and someone talks to me, that's when I'll get caught up in the emotion. That's the hardest part. I enjoyed every bit of the game when we clinched. I was having a tremendous time. But I did think of my mom." On Thursday and Friday, he thought of growing up in Buena Vista and playing sports at Parry McCluer High School, a "little star in a little town." "Where I lived as a kid, I wouldn't change it for the world," he said. "It was one of the greatest places in the world to grow up. I enjoyed every bit of it."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.