Maddon, Gibson named top managers
By SPORTS NETWORK
|Kirk Gibson joined Bob Melvin as the only Diamondbacks managers to be honoured by MLB. (REUTERS/Jeff Haynes/Files)
NEW YORK - The Tampa Bay Rays' Joe Maddon and Kirk Gibson of the Arizona Diamondbacks were named the top managers in the American and National League on Wednesday.
After an offseason that saw the Rays lose the likes of Carl Crawford, Rafael Soriano, Carlos Pena, Jason Bartlett and Matt Garza, expectations were a bit tempered for Maddon's club entering the 2011 campaign, especially after the team opened the year with six straight losses.
However, Maddon, a 2008 winner of this award, showed why he is considered one of the best managers in the game, as the Rays rallied from a nine-game deficit in early September to overtake the Boston Red Sox in the wild card standings on the season's final day to end the year 91-71.
Maddon received 26 of 28 first-place votes and finished with 133 points on the Baseball Writers' Association of America's 5-3-1 tabulation system. Detroit's Jim Leyland and Texas' Ron Washington received the other two first place votes and finished second and third, respectively.
Gibson, meanwhile, joined Bob Melvin as the only Arizona managers to be honoured, as he placed first on 28 ballots and second on the other four of the 32 ballots, submitted by two writers in each league city, to score 152 points.
After back-to-back 90-loss seasons and two last-place finishes, the Diamondbacks came out of nowhere to the win the National League West and did so rather easily, as they held the top spot from Aug. 10 on and pulled away from the San Francisco Giants late to win the division by eight games.
The D'Backs took on the identity of Gibson to win 94 games, their highest total since winning 98 way back in 2002.
Milwaukee skipper Ron Roenicke received three first place votes and was 60 points behind Gibson, while former St. Louis manager Tony La Russa nabbed the other first place vote and finished third.