If you're a baseball manager in your first season with a club and you lead the team to an epic turnaround, chances are you're picking up some hardware at the end of the season. So it's not a real surprise who the Baseball Writers' Association of America named as their Managers of the Year.
Last night, the BWAA announced that Texas Rangers skipper Jeff Banister and Chicago Cubs guru Joe Maddon were this year's top clubhouse leaders. It was the first time Banister won the award — which makes sense because this was his first year as a manager. Maddon, meanwhile, is now a three-time recipient of the honor. He previously won as manager of the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008 and 2011.
Banister received 17 first place votes in American League voting, while Maddon garnered 18 in the National League. But there was really no contest. In 2014, the Rangers (67-95) and Cubs (73-89) were both at the bottom of their divisions. In 2015, Bannister led Texas to an 88-74 record and the AL West title, while Maddon's Cubs went 97-65 and earned a Wild Card spot in a hypercompetitive NL Central.
"It's an organizational award for me," Banister said. "It comes down to our coaching staff, our players, our development staff, our front office. I get to sit in this seat, I get to accept the award, but really and truly I get to accept the award for our entire organization."
Maddon, likewise, spread the award around to the rest of the team.
"At the end of the day," he said, "this is a players' game. To be a steward of this wonderful group of young players, I feel very fortunate."
Major League Baseball's week of awards continues tonight with the announcement of the Cy Young winners, followed by MVP on Thursday.
Photos: LM Otero/AP (Bannister), Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images (Maddon), Twitter (infographic)