Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon named American League manager of the year

Throughout the Rays' historic September comeback from nine games back to claim the wild-card spot, manager Joe Maddon was the calming force.

When they lost both games of a doubleheader against the Yankees Sept. 21, dropping 2½ games behind the Red Sox with seven to play, Maddon walked into the visitor's clubhouse and said, "I know we can still do this."

Quipped right-hander James Shields: "In September, the players might have been the only people in the world that were believing the stuff he was saying. But he believed in us."

Maddon's faith — and ability — was rewarded again Wednesday as he was nearly unanimously chosen American League manager of the year by the Baseball Writers Association of America. It's the second time in four years Maddon won the award, with the other after the Rays' 2008 World Series run.

Twenty-six of 28 voters had Maddon first on their ballot, with the Tigers' Jim Leyland finishing second and the Rangers' Ron Washington third.

"On an individual basis, I'm blown away by it," Maddon said. "To think this would happen twice in four years for me is very gratifying to me."

Maddon taking the Rays from the league's worst team to the World Series in 2008 was remarkable enough, but one can argue he did an even better job this season. With the Rays losing stars such as leftfielder Carl Crawford and first baseman Carlos Peña to free agency and trading right-hander Matt Garza before the season while having to revamp the bullpen, Maddon said they'd have to win "Another Way."

The Rays would then start the season 0-6 and lose projected DH Manny Ramirez to retirement and their best hitter, third baseman Evan Longoria, for a month due to an oblique injury. But the Rays became the first team in baseball history to overcome a nine-game deficit in September to make the postseason.

Maddon said it was an "organizational award" and that it "speaks to the culture that we created and the system we created," giving credit to principal owner Stuart Sternberg, executive VP Andrew Friedman and the entire scouting and minor-league staff.

"If you had this kind of support and this kind of help, for guys like me to win an award like this becomes somewhat easier," Maddon said.

It's that support that is a main reason Maddon, 57, has said he doesn't want to go anywhere else, though he admitted it was "surreal" to be mentioned as a potential candidate for the Cardinals and Red Sox jobs. Maddon is entering the final year of his contract.

"A better place to work? I don't think one exists in baseball," he said. "My goal has been to make the Rays into the next century's Yankees, Cardinals, Red Sox."

Maddon said while the 2008 season broke a lot of "negative barriers" and created a culture, this past season validated it.

"There really might have been less expectations this year than in 2008," Maddon said. "This is the fact the culture of 2008 works, the system that established in 2008 works, so that you can maybe move some people, not worry about the dollar sign and put together a good team that plays the game right, plays the game hard."

He becomes the seventh multi-winner of the AL award. The one BBWAA voter who left Maddon off the ballot was Chris Assenheimer, Elyria Chronicle-Telegram in Cleveland chapter. His ballot: Leyland, the Yankees' Joe Girardi and the Indians' Manny Acta. The only BBWAA voter who had Maddon second was Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. His ballot: Washington, Maddon, Leyland.

Assenheimer, taking heat for leaving Maddon off, tweeted "my bad," explaining he voted before the end of the regular season.

"He deserves it," Shields said. "One of the best things about Joe, and I think the reason why we've been to the playoffs three of the last four years is he knows how to put 25 guys together and really gel. No matter how much talent you have, how much money you spend as an organization, you still have to have that good chemistry. And I think he brings a lot of that to the table."

Joe Smith can be reached at

AL manager

of the year (points)

1. Joe Maddon,

Tampa Bay Rays (133)

2. Jim Leyland,

Detroit Tigers (54)

3. Ron Washington,

Texas Rangers (31)

4. Manny Acta,

Cleveland Indians (16)

5. Joe Girardi,

New York Yankees ( 14)

6. Mike Scioscia,

Los Angeles Angels

of Anaheim (4)


Multiple winners

Managers who have won the AL award at least twice:

Manager Awards

Tony La Russa 3 (1983, 1988, 1992) plus one in NL

Sparky Anderson 2 (1984, 1987)

Buck Showalter-x 2 (1994, 2004)

Lou Piniella 2 (1995, 2001) plus one in NL

Joe Torre 2 (1996*, 1998)

Mike Scioscia-x 2 (2002, 2009)

Joe Maddon-x 2 (2008, 2011)

* Shared award with Johnny Oates. x-Active

Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon named American League manager of the year 11/16/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 10:55pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Longest home run at Trop and Erasmo Ramirez's pitching doom Rays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem was, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Seattle Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso (10) scores on the double by Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  2. Rays journal: Kevin Kiermaier returns, Mallex Smith sent to Triple A

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It didn't take CF Kevin Kiermaier long to make his presence felt during his return Friday to the Rays lineup. Kiermaier pretended to have Mariners DH Nelson Cruz's first-inning line drive lined up even as the ball went past him to his right and to the wall.

    Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) flies out in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  3. Rays vs. Mariners, 6:10 p.m. Saturday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Mariners

    6:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    This is a 2017 photo of Jake Odorizzi of the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team. This image reflects the 2017 active roster as of Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 when this image was taken. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  4. Bucs journal: Starting defense disappointed holding Jags to 1 rushing yard


    JACKSONVILLE — The Bucs' starting defense held the Jaguars to a total of 1 rushing yard on seven carries in the first half of Thursday's 12-8 preseason win.

    And its members were disappointed.

    Jacksonville Jaguars running back T.J. Yeldon (24) is thrown for a 1-yard loss as he is stopped by Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David (54) and defensive end Robert Ayers (91) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) JVS102
  5. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day


    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    Jameis Winston, left, tries to hang on to the ball as Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler tries to strip it from him.