Rockies' Tracy, Angels' Scioscia voted top managers
By Jay Cohen
New York -- Jim Tracy of Colorado won the NL Manager of the Year award on Wednesday -- and earned a new contract, too -- while Mike Scioscia of the Los Angeles Angels was selected for the AL honor.
Tracy became the second manager to win the award after taking over during the season, joining Jack McKeon for Florida in 2003. Less than an hour after the award was announced, the Rockies said Tracy had been rewarded with a three-year contract.
"One guy doesn't win an award like this," Tracy said in a conference call. "The Colorado Rockies won this award."
Tracy received 29 first-place votes and two seconds for 151 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Scioscia got 15 first-place votes, 10 seconds and one third for 106 points.
The Rockies promoted Tracy from bench coach after Clint Hurdle was fired in late May and won the wild-card race. Scioscia kept the Angels going after the death of pitcher Nick Adenhart, and they won their fifth AL West title in six years.
"Some things, you're never prepared for," Scioscia said. "But those things really weren't about us. They were about the Adenhart family and I think as we supported them we found some peace."
Ron Gardenhire finished second in the AL voting for the second straight year and fifth time during his eight seasons as Minnesota manager. He also placed third in 2002, when Scioscia was honored for the first time, but has never won the award. Tony La Russa of the Cardinals, a four-time winner, was a distant second in the NL with 55 points.
Lou Piniella of the Cubs and Joe Maddon of the Rays were honored last year.
Colorado was 18-28 and 14 games behind NL West-leading Los Angeles when Tracy was promoted from bench coach following Hurdle's dismissal on May 29. The Rockies responded to Tracy's steady hand, going 74-42 the rest of the way and taking the division race to the final weekend before settling for the wild card.
There was no Rocktober this year -- Colorado lost to Philadelphia in the division series -- but it was still quite the turnaround for the club and Tracy, who was fired after leading the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 68-94 record in 2007.
The 53-year-old Tracy was out of baseball before becoming the Rockies' bench coach in November 2008.
Scioscia managed the Angels to their third consecutive division title during one of his most difficult seasons in the dugout. Los Angeles has earned six postseason berths in the last eight years under Scioscia, who was a catcher for the Dodgers for 13 seasons and retired in 1994.
The Angels used 14 starting pitchers and played without sluggers Torii Hunter and Vladimir Guerrero for long stretches due to injuries. The team's biggest challenge was moving past the sorrow it felt when Adenhart was killed in a car accident in April.
Scioscia, who turns 51 on Nov. 27, was credited for giving his players time to grieve while gently insisting on accountability as an early slump lingered. Los Angeles responded by surging to another division title and making it to the AL championship series, eliminating postseason nemesis Boston along the way.
"They emerged as a terrific club as the summer wore on," Scioscia said.