Major League Baseball announced the 2011 Managers of the Year as voted on by the Baseball Writers of America on Wednesday. Joe Maddon of the Tampa Bay Rays took the American League award, while Kirk Gibson of the Arizona Diamondbacks was awarded in the National League. Both managers led their respective teams to impressive seasons that included a trip to the postseason.
Joe Maddon: Maddon received 26 of the possible 28 first places votes; this is the second time in the past four years Maddon has been honored with this award. The Rays seemed unlikely to take a spot in the postseason in September, but somehow came back from a nine game defecit to earn the Wild Card spot over the Boston Red Sox. Their place in the postseason wasn’t decided upon until the last day of the regular season. Many thought it would be tough for the Rays to compete in 2011 considering they lost Carl Crawford to free agency, and a large portion of their bullpen. The Rays made the playoffs with a $42 million payroll. Maddon defeated Jim Leyland of the Detroit Tigers and Ron Washington of the Texas Rangers to win the award.
Kirk Gibson: Gibson received 28 of the possible 32 first place votes. This is an impressive win for Gibson who just finished in first full season as manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Gibson took a 2010 team that finished with a 65-97 and turned them into a team in 2011 that finished 94-68, and won the NL West Division. It was a “worst to first” scenario from one year to the next that rarely happens. Gibson defeated Ron Roenicke of the Milwaukee Brewers and Tony LaRussa of the St. Louis Cardinals to win the award.
The Good in Sports congratulates both Joe Maddon and Kirk Gibson for their much deserved awards and wishes them the best of luck in 2012.
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