NEW YORK (AP) ― Terry Francona of the Cleveland Indians and Clint Hurdle of the Pittsburgh Pirates won the Manager of the Year awards Tuesday after guiding their small-budget teams to charming turnarounds.
Francona edged John Farrell of the World Series champion Boston Red Sox for the American League honor 112 points to 96 in a close vote by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
It was the first Manager of the Year honor for Francona, even though ― in an interesting twist ― he steered the Red Sox to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007. In his first season with the Indians, he directed them to a 24-win improvement and their first playoff berth in six years.
They lost the AL wild-card game to Tampa Bay, but voting is conducted before the postseason.
“This was one of the funnest years I’ve ever had,” Francona said in an interview on MLB Network.
Hurdle was a runaway winner, selected first on 25 of 30 ballots by the NL panel after taking the Pirates to the playoffs in their first winning season since 1992.
Don Mattingly of the Los Angeles Dodgers came in second and Fredi Gonzalez of the Atlanta Braves finished third.
“It’s a bit overwhelming, to tell you the truth,” Hurdle said. “It’s humbling.”