As a proud member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, MCB has a vote this year for the Connie Mack Award. As you might guess, this award names the top manager in each league, each year. The BBA is set up much like the BBWAA in that blogs that cover American League teams will vote on AL awards only. Each MLB city is broken into chapters, and each chapter will have two official ballots to be cast in each award.
The Connie Mack Award will be voted upon this year by MCB and Switch Hitting Pitchers, where Shelly posted her ballot recently. This are the second annual BBA awards. Last year’s winner of the Connie Mack award was Mike Scioscia of the Angels, who took home the honor ahead of Ron Gardenhire and Ron Washington. MCB’s official ballot follows after the jump.
Because we have four writers on staff here, I polled the contributers before posting this ballot. Some interesting names came up in the discussion, but in the end, theses are the names that made the final cut.
1- Ron Gardenhire– Minnesota Twins- Gardenhire’s club was a favorite to win the division before Spring Training began and they wound up doing so with ease. What’s impressive isn’t that they won, it’s that they won without the best closer not named Mariano Rivera for the entire season, and without the services of former MVP Justin Morneau for the entire second half. Lots of teams have to deal with injuries, but most teams that lose two all-stars will struggle. The Twins rose to the occasion and won the AL Central going away.
2- Buck Showalter– Baltimore Orioles- You wouldn’t expect to see the manager of a team that lost 96 games listed anywhere but an unemployment application, but Showalter certainly wasn’t responsible for most of those losses. When the Orioles fired Dave Trembley, they stood at 15-39, interim manager Juan Samuel guided the O’s to a 17-34 record before Showalter took over and went 34-23 over the last 57 games of the season. Had he been at the helm for longer than only one-third of the year, this award may have gone to Showalter, but it is a season-long award, so I couldn’t in good conscience list him number one.
3- Cito Gaston– Toronto Blue Jays- The Blue Jays spent the winter trading away their best player in pitcher Roy Halladay, most baseball people figured the Jays would have a good shot to finish in the cellar in the stacked AL East. Well, they finished fourth, but a 85-77 record was far better than most thought was possible from this team in that division. Gaston’s final year as the manager of the Blue Jays was a pleasant surprise on the field. Whomever takes over for him will have big shoes to fill.
**others receiving votes- Joe Maddon (TB), Ron Washington (Tex), and Jim Leyland (Det)
Keep your eyes open as this week will feature more post-season award balloting. For more information on these awards, or the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, visit the BBA homepage. If you have an active blog and would like a say in future balloting, contact Daniel Shoptaw at firstname.lastname@example.org.