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Gardenhire tops Washington for AL Manager of the Year

Nov 17, 2010, 2:19 PM EDT

Image (1) gardenhire.jpg for post 6304

Ron Gardenhire finished runner-up for Manager of the Year in five of his first eight seasons as the Twins’ skipper, including each of the past two seasons. Today he finally claimed the award for the first time, receiving 16 of 28 first-place votes to top Ron Washington of the Rangers and Joe Maddon of the Rays.

Gardenhire led the Twins to their sixth AL Central title in nine seasons, winning 94 games despite losing closer Joe Nathan to Tommy John surgery in spring training and cleanup hitter Justin Morneau to a concussion in July.

He was the only manager named on all 28 ballots cast by Baseball Writers Association of America members. Washington received 10 first-place votes, while Maddon and Cito Gaston received one apiece. Voting was conducted at the end of the regular season, so the Twins being swept by the Yankees in the first round and the Rangers advancing to the World Series were not factors.

I’m far from the world’s biggest Gardenhire fan, but the notion that he could be deemed the second-best manager in the league five times in eight seasons without ever actually winning the award always struck me as fairly absurd and perhaps more than anything reinforced the idea that there’s really no clear, established criteria for picking a winner.

Did he do a better job than Washington or Maddon or Gaston or Francona? I don’t think anyone really knows the answer to that, but Gardenhire won 94 games minus two of his stars and certainly deserved the award as much as anyone this season. Mostly, though, it’s a tough award to really argue about objectively.

  1. ThatGuy - Nov 17, 2010 at 2:27 PM

    Congrats Gardy.

  2. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 17, 2010 at 2:27 PM

    Cito Gaston got a 1st place vote, wtf?

    • BC - Nov 17, 2010 at 2:34 PM

      He won 85 games with a team that only knew how to hit homeruns and not do anything else. I’ve no real problem with him getting a vote, but I clearly would have voted Washington and Gardenhire ahead of him.

  3. cms9 - Nov 17, 2010 at 3:18 PM

    All due respect to Gardenhire – what does Terry Francona have to do to win?! He helps lead them to a championship after 86 years of futility (and the pundits say 1-Theo Epstein is to thank, and 2- he had a stacked team). This year he was dealing with a team with seriously reduced fire-power, a record-number of injured and re-injured key players, general failure of the predicted “best pitching roster in the league” – all of which can create a lot of tension on a team (which Theo, as GM, would not have been involved with), they play in the absolute toughest division in baseball, AND STILL WIN 89 GAMES…and Terry STILL doesn’t get voted top manager. So literally, what would he have to do?

    • ThatGuy - Nov 17, 2010 at 3:34 PM

      Probably not have a $163 million dollar payroll would help. They had a lot of injuries, but still tons of talent. Two bonafide Aces in Lester and Bucholz, Beltre had a great season, Papi was very good after the first two months, Martinez,Pedrio and Youk(when they weren’t injured). The team has tons of talent.

    • Utley's Hair - Nov 17, 2010 at 3:40 PM

      See Manuel, Charlie.

  4. tjammin - Nov 17, 2010 at 3:24 PM

    As stated in the NL coach of the year article, this award is usually given to the coach who is perceived to have done the most with the least. True or not, Francona would have been perceived to have more than Gardenhire. The “predicted best pitching roster” feeds into this “perceived” part of the equation, and its unlikely that a 3rd place finish is going to get you this award.

    • cms9 - Nov 17, 2010 at 3:58 PM


      1996: Yankees have biggest payroll in baseball – Torre wins Manager of the Year
      1998: Yankees have 2nd biggest payroll in baseball – Torre wins Manager of the Year (shared with Johnny Oates)

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 17, 2010 at 4:19 PM

        In ’96 yanks went from WC team (’95) to division winner. Maybe the Indian’s manager should have won, but that team was stacked. However, are you really going to complain about ’98, when the Yanks won a then record 114 regular season games?

  5. philiplewis1 - Nov 17, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    Hard to imagine Ron Washington not getting this award. How much farther back can a team come from than what the Rangers pulled off this year. Too bad the World Series wasn’t considered.

  6. fordman84 - Nov 17, 2010 at 3:34 PM

    If “most with the least” is a factor, the Washington should have earned all those points. Sure, but the end of the season his team was considered “stacked”, but going in Texas was supposed to be in 3rd in the weak West by most of the baseball brain-trust. Hamilton was coming off his worst year, there was no clear cut ace or even decent pitcher, Vlad was coming off his worst year, Ian was injured, Cruz was considered a potential one year wonder…there were no big names expected to do anything for Texas. But he lead the way and coached the team to the WS.

    With all that, Gardy deserves the spot. Washington will have to go out there and get it next year :)

  7. Rosenthals Speling Instrukter - Nov 17, 2010 at 4:29 PM

    Yeah, I would think Dr. Rockso would have deserved it more but congrats Gardy.

  8. cms9 - Nov 17, 2010 at 4:32 PM

    churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged: It’s not so much being hung up on Francona getting the award. It’s just the maddening inconsistent logic that is applied from year to year. In response to your reply to me, the Red Sox went from WC (2003) to WC winning the WS (2004), which I think is far more impressive than the 96 Yankee stat you mentioned – just trying to show how inconsistent the whole decision-making around this vote actually is.

    • ThatGuy - Nov 17, 2010 at 5:04 PM

      It is more impressive, but when the vote is done the outcome of the World Series is not known. The Red Sox were the Wild Card team and still had 150 million payroll. Unless you set records, your not likely to get much MOY support.

  9. uncommon1 - Nov 17, 2010 at 5:32 PM

    The voting criteria seems to change. Washington probably deserved it this year, but my guess is that few of the voters felt like they owed it to Gardy after 5 2nd place finishes. Francona did a great job dealing with all of the injuries, but a 3rd place finish and missing the playoffs will prevent him from getting the award.

  10. vikesfansteve - Nov 17, 2010 at 5:44 PM

    Hey 4 straight first round playoff exits by being swept deserves some kind of reward doesn’t it?

    What a joke.

  11. hardjudge - Nov 17, 2010 at 5:57 PM

    Do these awards pay any money? If not who cares!

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