NEW YORK — Kirk Gibson and Joe Maddon won manager of the year awards Wednesday – one for overseeing a worst-to-first turnaround that lasted all season, the other after a frantic playoff push in the final month.
Gibson was a clear choice in the NL for guiding the Arizona Diamondbacks to the West title. A former MVP as a rough-and-tumble outfielder, Gibson was honored in his first full season as a big league manager.
“I certainly had a vision,” Gibson said on a conference call during a vacation in northern Michigan, adding, “It’s certainly not all because of me.”
Maddon won the AL award for the second time. He was an easy pick after helping the Tampa Bay Rays overcame a nine-game deficit to beat out Boston for the wild-card spot on the last day. It was the biggest rally any team had made in September to claim a playoff berth.
“I like to think of it as a validation of the Rays’ way of doing things,” Maddon said on a conference call while visiting family and friends in Hazleton, Pa.
The results were announced by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Gibson and the Diamondbacks went 94-68, a year after he took over in midseason as Arizona went 65-97. Stressing fundamentals and details from the first day of spring training, Gibson, 54, pushed his team into the playoffs, where it lost to Milwaukee in the 10th inning of the deciding Game 5 in the opening round.
Gibson drew 28 of the 32 first-place votes and got 152 points. He was the only manager in either league to be listed on every ballot.
FRANCONA MIGHT SIT: Former Boston Red Sox skipper Terry Francona didn’t completely rule out managing again in 2012, but he did pull himself out of the running for the Chicago Cubs job and said he would take a step back after not getting the St. Louis Cardinals position.
“I don’t know that I can confirm that (report that he won’t manage in 2012),” Francona said on on ESPN 1000 radio.
ASTROS: A person familiar with the negotiations tells The Associated Press that Major League Baseball only agreed to the pending sale of the Houston Astros to businessman Jim Crane after he agreed to move the team to the American League.
The person spoke Wednesday on condition of anonymity because no announcement has been made.
The person said Major League Baseball told Crane he would only be able to buy the team from Drayton McLane if he agrees to move the Astros out of the National League, where they have played ever since their first game in 1962.
DODGERS: The team is complaining that a Fox subsidiary is illegally trying to interfere with efforts to sell the team and it assets, including media rights to future games.
Dodgers attorneys filed a complaint Wednesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, alleging lawyers for Fox Sports Net West, which runs the Prime Ticket regional sports network, violated the automatic halt to litigation against a debtor in bankruptcy by sending a letter to the Dodgers’ financial adviser, Blackstone Advisory Partners.
CARDINALS: Coaches Mark McGwire and Dave Duncan are staying with St. Louis under new manager Mike Matheny.