Baseball managers come and go. They are recycled routinely after being canned in one place and then another and another and another. You know how it goes. The Rockies' own Jim Tracy has followed that path since he made his major league managerial debut in 2001 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, managing the Pirates for two years, and then moving to his current position in 2009 after Clint Hurdle was fired.
We all know how that move worked out. Firing Clint Hurdle was the sine qua non of turning that team around, and Jim Tracy wound up winning the 2009 NL Manager of the Year Award. But how much did Jim Tracy himself turn around the team? It's one of those things that is hard to quantify. Would the Rockies have done better if Don Baylor became manager over Tracy? (Oh, hey. Look over there. Baylor's looking for a manager's gig now.)
Cliff Corcoran of Sports Illustrated wrote a piece this August asking how much of an impact managers really have over the course of a season. While he doesn't offer a definitive answer, Corcoran suggests that a manager is equivalent to the top setup men in the game. No way to prove it, but it's possible.
Most of the time the results show up as a ranking of those managers in the postseason (just don't tell that to Joe Girardi in 2006, who won the award by keeping the Marlins in contention, but ultimately finished below .500. He was fired that same season). With one exception, our own results reflect that as well.
In the American League it was a close vote between the Minnesota Twins' Ron Gardenhire and the Tampa Bay Rays' Joe Maddon. Both managers led their respective teams to division titles, and Maddon had quite the time taking the AL East away from the New York Yankees. Ultimately, Gardenhire won out in the voting due to three first-place votes, two more than Maddon had. Only two points separated the managers.
Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington took third place, and finished only one point behind Maddon. He led the Rangers to a division title in a weak AL West. Jeff and Wolf gave their third-place votes to Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who led the team to a 34-23 record over the final 57 games of the season.
NL winner and full results after the jump.
Like our AL Manager of the Year, the NL Manager of the Year is no retread through the league. San Diego's Bud Black moved from being the Los Angeles Angels' pitching coach to the Padres' manager in the fall of 2006. Under Black, the Padres have finished in every position except for first. Black had his best showing this year with a 90-72 second-place finish. The Padres unexpectedly commanded the NL West for most of the season and during the summer rewarded Black with a contract extension through 2013 with club options for 2014 and 2015.
Bobby Cox took second place as he went off into the wild blue yonder.
Though Bobby Cox lost in his last game as a manager, it was a class act at the end of the game by the teams and fans.
Bruce Bochy led his San Francisco Giants to a 92-70 record for an NL West crown, and Charlie Manuel allowed his Phillies to play their way to an NL East title and the best record in the majors (97-65)
Here are the full voting results for the AL:
|1||Ron W||Maddon||Ron G||Ron W||Ron G||Ron W||Ron G|
|2||Ron G||Ron G||Maddon||Maddon||Ron W||Maddon||Maddon|
|3||Maddon||Showalter||Ron W||Ron G||Maddon||Ron G||Showalter|
And the final tally:
The NL results:
The final tally: