Originally created 11/07/97

Baker named top NL manager



NEW YORK -- Dusty Baker was voted National League Manager of the Year for the second time on Thursday after leading the San Francisco Giants to a worst-to-first division title.

The Giants went 68-94 in 1996, then won the NL West with a 90-72 record, two games ahead of second-place Los Angeles. The Giants were swept by Florida in the first round of the playoffs.

Baker, also voted the top NL manager in 1993, became the third manager to win the NL award twice, joining Tommy Lasorda and Jim Leyland.

Gene Lamont, who kept the Pittsburgh Pirates in contention all year in his first season as the team's manager, was second with 10 first-place votes and 92 points.

Larry Dierker, the Houston Astros' rookie manager, was third with one first-place vote and 34 points, followed by Bobby Valentine of the New York Mets (7 points), Bobby Cox of the Atlanta Braves (6), Terry Francona of the Philadelphia Phillies (2) and Leyland (1), who took over the Marlins this year and led them to a World Series title.

Under the rules of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, ballots had to be postmarked by the day before the start of the playoffs.

Following the trade of Matt Williams to Cleveland, many expected the Giants to be out of contention again this year.

"This was just a magical year, not just for me, but for everyone in the clubhouse," reliever Rod Beck said. "No one expected us to do anything."