Ron Gardenhire won the AL Manager of the Year Award pretty easily, a well-deserved accolade for a guy who just simply wins with whatever he’s given. In the NL, however, Bud Black edged out Dusty Baker by a single point. That’s crazy.
Voters list three managers on their ballots, with the first-place vote worth five points, second worth three and third worth one. I wonder if the voters think about the point tabulation or just consider the order of the names. Obviously, a first-place vote indicates who that writer thinks deserves the award. But how much thought goes into second vs. third place? I’m curious because had one of the two voters who listed Dusty Baker third decided to put him second, the award would belong to Cincinnati’s skipper.
As for the order of finish, it’s pretty much how I would’ve listed them:
Black first, because he guided the Padres to the last day of the season before they were eliminated and no one predicted San Diego to contend for anything this year except the best packages for which to trade Adrian Gonzalez and Heath Bell.
Baker second, because the Reds were a surprise division winner. But he had more to work with than did Black, plus a weaker intradivision schedule against which to manage.
Bruce Bochy third, one first-place vote. Sure, the Giants won the division, but they didn’t come out of nowhere to do it. Brian Sabean deserves Executive of the Year for bringing in the pieces, both last offseason (Aubrey Huff) and in-season (Pat Burrell, Cody Ross).
Bobby Cox fourth, one first-place vote. He didn’t get the “lifetime achievement”/farewell support some may have expected in finishing this far back. He nearly had the Braves winning the East again until injuries (particularly to Chipper Jones) caught up to them in September.
Charlie Manuel fifth, one first-place vote. I saw some questioning why there wasn’t more support for Manuel for Philly winning another division title despite injuries to just about every position player at some point in the season. I suppose it’s a fair question, but I’d counter by saying that the Phillies were still more loaded than any team in the NL, so the injuries didn’t hurt as much. Plus, they rarely had multiple studs out at the same time. Now, had they still won the division without
adding Roy Oswalt, Manuel would’ve had a stronger case.
Brad Mills sixth, with an inexplicable second-place vote. I don’t know how the manager of a 76-86 team gets a vote ahead of either Black or Baker, which he must have to be placed second on one ballot. Hey, if you want to tip your hat to a guy and throw him a bone with a third-place vote, fine by me. But a second-place bone still has a little meat on it. Whatever, it might not be that big a deal. Or it may have cost Baker the award.
And one last tidbit about Black: He becomes just the second former pitcher to win Manager of the Year, and he had a much longer Major League career (398 games) than Tommy Lasorda (26 games) did.