When I walked into his office at the end of the 2002 season, it was safe to say I wasn't of sound mind. My father had passed away about a month earlier, I was agitated about how I was used during the season, and to top it off, I was a free agent coming off a year which created clear questions about my opportunities to ever be a starter again.
I am sure Ed Wade, fired by the Astros on Sunday, had a lot of things on his plate that day as the general manager of the Phillies. But he cleared his schedule and his desk and just listened.
Keep in mind, 10 representatives of Wade's Phillies came to my father's funeral. I was moved by seeing Jimmy Rollins, community relations director Gene Dias, owner David Montgomery and many others who came out to show support. I certainly was thankful that Wade was the man who brought me over to Philly from the question-mark column of the Chicago Cubs, but I didn't realize that we would become family.
It reached this level of intimacy because of the first move Ed Wade made as a GM. He traded for me and let a popular player in Mickey Morandini walk out the door. It was a bold move because I was still not an industry recognized, can't-miss starter and, because of how the Cubs were platooning me, Wade had to do serious research to see I could do the job.
He gave me the shot that everyone is looking for in the game. Sure, I was already in the big leagues, but his decision made me a starter -- and to make that decision, you have to be willing to bet on someone.
Once I came over to Philadelphia, I didn't make his first negotiation with me easy. Just before the trade, I had heard on the radio in my last days with Chicago that I had earned a substantial raise after my .300-hitting season. This was coming from the Cubs' evaluators, so I expected a nice bump from the minimum salary. In fact, I had it in my head that it was going to be a big bump.
I stuck to a settlement number and Wade and I couldn't agree, so I ended up getting "renewed" my first year. Not a good way to start and certainly not what a GM wants to have on file in case I get to arbitration. A renewal basically says a player thought he was more valuable and you couldn't work it out and paid him "X" anyway.
Wade was concerned enough about possible tension to stop me in the dugout during a spring training game to tell me, "I want you to know that you are a big part of this organization's future. I hope you don't take our impasse as a sign we don't see you in that light." I let him know that I had no issue and I was very happy to be a Phillie.
As time went on, I found that Wade and I had a lot in common when it came to the game. Garry Maddox was one of my favorite players and he also happened to be Wade's best man in his wedding, since Maddox introduced him to his wife. It was an early sign of how Wade made sure the Phillies' legacy players were involved on his watch. He kept generations of Phillies in the mix. I caught first pitches from Steve Carlton, I hung out with Mike Schmidt, I constantly saw leadership looking to remember and appreciate the team's history. Given that Wade worked his way up to GM over decades was partly why he had such a loyalty streak.
This could always be seen in his personnel. He surrounded himself with a trusted circle. Sink or swim, this priority was clear. Former Phillies Brad Mills, Jason Michaels, Geoff Geary, Michael Bourn and Nelson Figueroa were just a few recent examples of how Wade would take you wherever he went. Dias, who used to head up the community relations department in Philadelphia, was with Wade in Houston. Wade also was committed to creating a diverse environment, and people of all walks of life worked with and for him.
To date, Wade hasn't achieved his goal of winning a title, and this past year put him on the short end of the shake-up in Houston. But he has made moves that should be noted, like selecting Shane Victorino in the 2002 Rule 5 draft -- a player who ultimately ushered me out of town. That move turned out to be pure genius as Victorino has been a star player and a key to the Phillies' successes.
In a game of so much transition and change, Wade did as much as a GM could in trying to keep continuity with his personnel, to build what he knows as a family business. It was family first, just as when he offered to send me home for as long as I needed when my father had his stroke.
After a spending lot of time with Wade, you come to realize that he really does shoot it to you straight. At first, you aren't expecting it from the front office, but then time shows that he wasn't sugarcoating it or pulling the wool over your eyes. He just told you the deal.
I found it to be refreshing to get some straight talk, even when he had to tell you that you are now fighting for a job that you thought you deserved.
Doug Glanville, who earned a degree in systems engineering from the University of Pennsylvania, played nine major league seasons with the Cubs, Phillies and Rangers. He serves on the board of Athletes Against Drugs and on the board of the MLB Players Alumni Association. His book, "The Game from Where I Stand," was released in May 2010. Click here to buy it in paperback on Amazon.com. Follow him on Twitter: @dougglanville