|2008 AL Manager of the Year Award Voting|
|Joe Maddon, TB||27||1||138|
|Ron Gardenhire, MIN||1||15||8||58|
|Mike Scioscia, LAA||12||9||45|
|Terry Francona, BOS||6||6|
|Ozzie Guillen, CWS||3||3|
|Cito Gaston, TOR||2||2|
The Twins headed to Spring Training last February with many of the pundits picking them to finish in fourth or fifth in the division. Others may have seen a rebuilding season awaiting Minnesota, but Gardenhire never quite viewed it that way.From the start of Spring Training, Gardenhire got his players to focus on what they had in their ballclub rather than the things that media and outsiders dwelled upon -- what they had lost. "We talked about it a lot in spring and said, 'This is our baseball team right here and we're going to make a team out of this group,'" Gardenhire said earlier this season. "We stressed that we are going to have to figure out how to become a group and become winners -- together." Minnesota struggled early, finishing with a 12-14 record in April. But it was the only losing month the ballclub would endure. Despite much adversity, including losing outfielder Michael Cuddyer and pitcher Pat Neshek for the majority of the year due to injuries and woes for their normally stoic bullpen, Gardenhire managed to keep his team near the top of the division race until the very end. Gardenhire led his team to an 88-75 record, with its final loss coming in game No. 163, a one-game tiebreaker with the White Sox for the AL Central title at U.S. Cellular Field on Sept. 30. In his seven-year career as a manager, Gardenhire holds a 622-512 record for a .549 winning percentage. Though 2008 might not have garnered Gardenhire an award, it has earned him a contract extension. Although it has yet to be announced by the team, the Twins and Gardenhire have agreed on a two-year extension that will run through the 2011 season. The club is currently working on finishing up two-year deals with the rest of Gardenhire's coaching staff, and the skipper's extension will be announced when those are completed.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.