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SB Nation Awards: Manager of the Year

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As well as the ongoing 'Pitties, we also have an SB Nation-wide set of awards, voted upon by two contributors from each site - in the case of the SnakePit, it's myself and 'Charmer. This week, those awards will be handed out: we start with the Manager of the Year today, and then tomorrow we have the Rookie of the Year; Wednesday is the Cy Young, and Thursday will be the MVP. As with the BBWAA awards, there's one for each league; for obvious reasons, we'll be concentrating on the National League awards, though will also mention the top few finishers in the American League, for completeness.

Follow us after the jump, where we'll start with the National League and American League Managers of the Year.

Rk Manager Team 1st 2nd 3rd Pts
1 Jim Tracy Colorado Rockies 24 1 2 125
2 Tony LaRussa St. Louis Cardinals 3 7 10 46
3 Fredi Gonzalez Florida Marlins 2 6 5 33
4 Joe Torre Los Angeles Dodgers - 9 2 29
5 Charlie Manuel Philadelphia Phillies - 3 5 14
6 Bruce Bochy San Francisco Giants 1 1 1 9
7 Bobby Cox Atlanta Braves - 1 4 7
8 Bud Black San Diego Padres - 1 1 4
9 John Russell Pittsburgh Pirates - 1 - 3

Probably not too much of a surprise here, with the stunning turnaround achieved by Jim Tracy on the Colorado Rockies impressing the members of the SB Nation academy. After starting the season 18-28 under Clint Hurdle - a win percentage fractionally worse than the one that got the other 2007 NLCS manager, Bob Melvin, fired here in Arizona - Colorado went 74-42 the rest of the way. That extrapolates to a 103-win full season, an amazing reversal to disprove the argument that in-season managerial changes never work. It worked immediately in Denver, where they went 18-5 over his first four weeks, including a 16-1 run.

Be interested to hear from some of the visiting Rockies fans why they think it made such a difference to the team. I am, of course, supremely jealous that it didn't work out quite so well in Arizona - Bob Melvin's winning percentage (.414) was only improved upon slightly by AJ Hinch (.436). One of the suggestions touched upon in 'charmer's end of season review, was that the players in Colorado were much more on board with the change. The ones here had to be convinced, to varying degrees, both of the need for change and that Hinch was the right man for the job, given his lack of managerial experience.

My ballot is actually sitting at work, so I'm not certain who I picked, though I'm fairly sure that it was Tracy as my #1 - odds in favor, since he got 80% of the first-place ballots [looks like one blog didn't take part]. A lot less unanimity for the second- and third-place spots, with nine of the 16 NL teams seeing their helmsmen mentioned. I think I went for Fredi Gonzalez as my runner-up, based on the wonders worked in Florida on a budget that could be funded from the back of the sofa in George Steinbrenner's office. Fire sale or not, the Marlins are probably the poster-child for winning in a small market, and one can only wonder what Gonzalez might do if given a reasonable amount of cash.

Of course, this is as much an award for the front-office who construct the team: I'm really not certain how much influence the manager generally has. There are exceptions, however, and if any manager does affect his team, it's probably third-place finisher, Tony LaRussa. He has absolutely no hesitation in rejecting "conventional" wisdom when he feels it's in the best interests of winning, e.g. batting his pitcher eighth. If I could pick any other major-league manager to be in charge of Arizona, it'd be LaRussa. Elsewhere on the ballot, I'm not sure who voted for John Russell in Pittsburgh, for leading his team to a brilliant 62-99 record, ahead only of the Nationals. I went over to Bucs Dugout, and if it was them, they're not 'fessing up, yet...

I trust it wasn't 'charmer, anyway - I'm sure she will be along a llttle later to discuss her ballot and explain her picks. I'll finish with a quick mention of the American League results, where both Ron Gardenhire of the Twins and the Angels' Mike Scioscia ended up with nine first-place votes. However, Scioscia got more X's further down the ballot, and so took the award, with Don Wakamatsu of Seattle finishing behind Gardenhire. I can't believe that almost half the voters left Gardenhire off their ballots entirely: again, we're talking about a man who has worked wonders with little or no cash, and has got to be in the running, at the very least. He'd have got my vote, certainly, though as we only get to vote for our own leagues, that's a token gesture. Here's the full results there:

Rk Manager Team 1st 2nd 3rd Pts
1 Mike Scioscia Los Angeles Angels 9 8 3 72
2 Ron Gardenhire Minnesota Twins 9 5 1 61
3 Don Wakamatsu Seattle Mariners 6 3 8 47
4 Joe Girardi New York Yankees 2 4 2 24
5 Ron Washington Texas Rangers 1 4 4 21
6 Terry Francona Boston Red Sox 1 1 3 11
7 Jim Leyland Detroit Tigers - 2 4 10
8 Joe Maddon Tampa Bay Rays - 1 1 4
9 Ozzie Guillen Chicago White Sox - - 1 1
10 Trey Hillman Kansas City Royals - - 1 1

 

Tomorrow, we'll continue the series with the Rookie of the Year award.