Tracy Ringolsby

Top skippers 'wowed' the baseball world in 2015

Maddon, Banister deserving MoY winners among a brilliant bunch

Top skippers 'wowed' the baseball world in 2015

There's a wow factor in the BBWAA's selection of the Manager of the Year Award winners. No doubt Joe Maddon of the Cubs, who won the National League honors on Tuesday, and Jeff Banister of the Rangers, the American League selection, earned the award.

Maddon, who took advantage of the escape clause in his contract to leave Tampa Bay and sign a multiyear deal with the Cubs last offseason, guided a youth-filled roster to 97 victories and Wild Card berth in the postseason. That equaled the Cubs' most wins in a season since they won 98 in 1945.

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Maddon wins NL Manager of Year

Banister ended a 29-year career in the Pirates organization to become manager of the Rangers. He lost his No. 1 starter Yu Darvish in the spring and No. 2 starter Derek Holland in the first inning of the home opener. After an 8-15 start to his managerial career, however, Banister was able rally the Rangers, who moved into sole possession of first place in the AL West for the first time on Sept. 15 and never looked back.


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They are baseball foot soldiers who made good.

They created feel-good stories. Maddon took the Cubs to the NL Championship Series for the second time in 26 seasons and the first time in the past 12. Banister took a team coming off a 95-loss season and last-place finish in the AL West to a division title.

Wow. Get the picture?

Banister wins AL Manager of Year

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny has led St. Louis to the postseason in each of his first four years -- an unprecedented accomplishment. Having taken over for Tony La Russa and inheriting a team that won the World Series in 2011, Matheny finished fifth in the voting his first two years, fourth a year ago and second this year.

Seems success is considered a given with the Cards -- even in a year Matheny lost the ace of his rotation, Adam Wainwright, in the spring and did not get 80 games out of lineup regulars Matt Holliday (73 games), Jon Jay (79) and Matt Adams (60).


Manager, Club 1st 2nd 3rd Points
Joe Maddon, CHC 18 11 1 124
Mike Matheny, STL 9 12 6 87
Terry Collins, NYM 3 7 13 49
Clint Hurdle, PIT     8 8
Bruce Bochy, SF     1 1
Don Mattingly, LAD     1 1


Manager, Club 1st 2nd 3rd Points
Jeff Banister, TEX 17 8 3 112
A.J. Hinch, HOU 8 13 3 82
Paul Molitor, MIN 2 3 14 33
John Gibbons, TOR 1 5 2 22
Joe Girardi, NYY 2   2 12
Ned Yost, KC   1 5 8
Mike Scioscia, LAA     1 1

But Matheny did finish second in the NL voting, ahead of Terry Collins, who took the Mets to their second division title in 27 years and into the World Series for the first time in 15 years.

Royals manager Ned Yost, meanwhile, was a distant sixth in the AL, after leading Kansas City to its first championship in 30 years. (Votes were tallied before postseason play began.) That came on the heels of his guiding the Royals into the World Series a year earlier, ending their 29-year postseason drought, which earned him a third-place finish in the BBWAA voting.

Did last year's success take some of the glimmer out of this year's championship? Maybe, but the Royals were generally projected to finish in fourth place in the AL Central in preseason predictions.

There was, however, a lot of "Wow Power" ahead of Yost in the AL voting.

A.J. Hinch finished second to Banister after taking an Astros team that had lost 416 games over the four previous seasons to a Wild Card spot in the postseason. They beat the Yankees before losing to Yost and the Royals in the AL Division Series.

Paul Molitor finished third in the voting in his managerial debut, in which he took over a Twins team that had finished last in the AL Central in three of the previous four years and was a preseason prediction to finish fifth. Molitor guided Minnesota to a second-place finish behind Kansas City.

Then, there was John Gibbons, who managed the Blue Jays into the ALCS, where they lost to the Royals, and Joe Girardi, whose Yankees fell to the Astros. The pair of AL East skippers finished fourth and fifth, respectively, ahead of Yost.

Yost, however, got to hoist the championship trophy, his Royals knocking off the Mets in a five-game World Series.

And that is more than a wow. It is the ultimate achievement for a big league manager.

Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.