Rays' manager Joe Maddon named AL Manager of the Year
Rays manager Joe Maddon was nearly unanimously picked as the American League Manager of the Year, the Baseball Writers' Association of America announced Wednesday afternoon.
Maddon, who also won the award in 2008, was listed first on 26 of the 28 ballots cas by two writers in each league city. Tigers manager Jim Leyland and Texas manager Ron Washington each took a first place vote and finished second and third, respectively.
Maddon, 57, led the Rays on a spectacular September comeback from nine games down in the wild card standings to make their fourth playoff appearance in four seasons. The nine-game gap behind the Red Sox was the largest in September overcome by a team to qualify for the postseason. The Rays started the season 0-6, but Maddon kept his faith, and set the tone with players.
"Joe is awesome - I couldn't ask for a better manager to play for," Rays rookie righthander Jeremy Hellickson said. "He's so laid back, is definitely a players coach, and gets along with us all so well. He's always going out of his way to say something to us. When we were 0-6, he was right there telling us we were the best team in baseball. It really helps to have a manager like Joe."
Maddon won the award in 2008, when he led the Rays on their improbable run to the World Series. But you could argue he did an even better job this season, considering what obstacles he had to deal with. There was all the losses in the offseason, from stars like LF Carl Crawford and 1B Carlos Pena to nearly the entire bullpen (including RHP closer Rafael Soriano). The Rays expected DH, Manny Ramirez, retired a week into the season rather than take a 100-game suspension by MLB for violation of the performance enhancing drugs policy.
The team's top hitter, Evan Longoria, missed a month earlier in the season with an oblique injury. The Rays were nine games out of the playoffs in September. Maddon becomes the seventh multi-winner of the award, joining Tony La Russa (three times in AL, once in NL), and two-time AL winners Sparky Anderson, Joe Torre, Lou Piniella, Buck Showalter and Mike Scioscia.
The one BBWAA voter who left Maddon off the ballot was Chris Assenheimer, Elyria Chronicle-Telegram in Clev. chapter. His ballot: Leyland, Girardi, Acta. The only BBWA voter who had Maddon second was Drew Davison, of Fort Worth Star-Telegram. His ballot: Washington, Maddon, Leyland.
AL Manager of the Year (points)
Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay Rays (133)
Jim Leyland, Detroit Tigers (54)
Ron Washington, Texas Rangers (31)
Manny Acta, Cleveland Indians (16)
Joe Girardi, New York Yankees ( 14)
Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (4)