The Arizona Diamondbacks were the most surprising team in the National League, and the Tampa Bay Rays forged a stirring late-season comeback to overcome one of their high-payroll divisional rivals. Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson and Rays manager Joe Maddon had a huge advantage in the Manager Who Exceeded Preseason Expectations Award race and, as expected, both managers took home the honors in their respective leagues.
Neither manager was a unanimous winner for the Manager of the Year award, but both were runaways. First, the vote totals for the National League:
|Kirk Gibson, Arizona Diamondbacks||28||4||152|
|Ron Roenicke, Milwaukee Brewers||3||25||2||92|
|Tony La Russa, St. Louis Cardinals||1||2||13||24|
|Charlie Manuel, Philadelphia Phillies||1||7||10|
|Fredi Gonzalez, Atlanta Braves||4||4|
|Bruce Bochy, San Francisco Giants||2||2|
|Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh Pirates||2||2|
|Terry Collins, New York Mets||1||1|
|Don Mattingly, Los Angeles Dodgers||1||1|
Gibson and the Diamondbacks won 94 games and the NL West in 2011, just a year after losing 97 games and finishing in last place. Gibson took over that 2010 team, finishing with a 34-49 record.
And the American League:
|Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay Rays||26||1||133|
|Jim Leyland, Detroit Tigers||1||13||10||54|
|Ron Washington, Texas Rangers||1||7||5||31|
|Manny Acta, Cleveland Indians||3||7||16|
|Joe Girardi, New York Yankees||3||5||14|
|Mike Scioscia, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim||1||1||4|
Other than the idea that Jeff Mathis and his mom get votes, there weren't many surprises here, either. Maddon led the Rays back from the abyss and into the playoffs, which would be tough for any team, much less one with a $40 million payroll or so.
Now that you have the Manager of the Year awards, commence the virulent debating and arguing! You know you want to.