D-backs’ Kirk Gibson named BBWAA NL Manager of the Year


PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks’ Manager Kirk Gibson has been named the 2011 National League Manager of the Year as announced by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Gibson is the second D-backs’ Manager to win the honors joining 2007 winner Bob Melvin.

Gibson, 54, placed first on 28 ballots and second on the other four from the 32 submitted by two writers in each league city to score 152 points, based on the 5-3-1 tabulation system. He was the only manager in either league this year to be named to every ballot. Gibson, who won the 1988 NL Most Valuable Player award with the Los Angeles Dodgers, is the fourth former MVP to win Manager of the Year honors. He joins Frank Robinson, the NL MVP in 1961 with the Cincinnati Reds and American League MVP with the Baltimore Orioles in 1966 and AL Manager of the Year with the Orioles in 1989; current D-backs’ hitting coach Don Baylor, the AL MVP with the California Angels in 1979 and NL Manager of the Year with the Colorado Rockies in 1995; and Joe Torre, the NL MVP with the Cardinals in 1971 and AL Manager of the Year with the New York Yankees in 1996 (tied with the Texas Rangers’ Johnny Oates) and 1998.

Gibson led the D-backs to a 94-68 regular-season record and their fifth NL West Division championship. They lost their NL Division Series versus the Milwaukee Brewers 3 games to 2. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Gibson is the first manager to take his team to the playoffs in his first full season after the team finished in last place the previous season and since 1969, Gibson and the Brewers’ Ron Roenicke became the 19th and 20th managers to take their teams to the playoffs in their first full season as a Major League manager (does not include managers who made the playoffs before their first full season, i.e., midseason hires in first season).

Under Gibson, the D-backs’ 29-game turnaround in 2011 tied for the third-best in the Majors since 1998, according to Elias Sports Bureau, matching the Detroit Tigers in 2004 behind the D-backs’ 35-game turnaround in 1999 and the Tampa Bay Rays’ 31-game turnaround in 2007. The D-backs had 94 wins in 2011 after 97 losses in 2010 and 92 losses in 2009 to become only the eighth team in history to win 90 games in a season after losing at least 90 games in each of the previous two seasons, according to Elias Sports Bureau, joining the Red Sox in 1967, Brewers in 1978, New York Mets in 1984, Chicago White Sox in 1990, Atlanta Braves in 1991, Tigers in 2006 and Rays in 2008.

The D-backs’ 94-68 record was the third-best record in franchise history behind the 100-62 mark in 1999 and 98-64 record in 2002. Their 51-30 home record was the third-best behind the 55-26 mark in 2002 and 52-39 record in 1999. Their 43-38 road record tied with the 2002 club for third-best behind the 48-33 mark in 1999 and 44-37 record in 2001. Among all teams after the All-Star break, the D-backs’ 45 wins and .643 winning percentage (45-25) tied for the third-best while their 28 home wins were the most in the Majors. The D-backs won the division by 8.0 games over the second-place Giants, their second-largest margin all-time behind the 14.0-game margin in 1999, and the fifth-largest by an NL West championship team since 1998.

The D-backs had a Major League-best and franchise-record 48 comeback wins in 2011.

Gibson, who also earned Sporting News’ NL Manager of the Year honors, is 128-117 (.522) overall since being named the D-backs’ interim manager on July 1, 2010. He was officially named the sixth manager in club history on Oct. 4, 2010. His .522 winning percentage is second-best in franchise history behind Bob Brenly (.536, 2001-04) and ahead of Buck Showalter (.514, 1998-2000), Bob Melvin (.498, 2005-09), A.J. Hinch (.420, 2009-10) and Al Pedrique (.265, 2004).


Manager, Club                                             1st       2nd        3rd       Total Points

Kirk Gibson, Arizona Diamondbacks            28          4          0             152

Ron Roenicke, Milwaukee Brewers                3         25          2               92

Tony La Russa, St. Louis Cardinals               1          2         13               24

Charlie Manuel, Philadelphia Phillies             0          1          7               10

Fredi Gonzalez, Atlanta Braves                         0          0          4                4

Bruce Bochy, San Francisco Giants                0          0          2                2

Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh Pirates                       0          0          2                2

Terry Collins, New York Mets                            0          0          1                1

Don Mattingly, Los Angeles Dodgers              0          0          1                1