By Ryan Adams
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There’s an old cliche in baseball. The managers are really only directly responsible for maybe 10-20 games a year. Well if Major League Baseball were to abide by that logic – why give out such a prestigious award as the Manager of the Year? The fact is, managers do more than just throw a lineup together. They do more than just set matchups before and during the game. They have a huge role in the clubhouse and the culture of the baseball club. They must be the voice in the media and the front line face of every franchise. Maybe more so than in any other sport.
On Tuesday evening, Major League Baseball awarded Texas Rangers Jeff Banister his first such award and voted Cubs skipper, Joe Maddon, his third.
For Banister, it was a reflection more for the second half surge the Rangers made to not only clinch a post-season birth, but win the American League West division after it was controlled by the Houston Astros for most of the season. The other remarkable achievement? The Rangers finished last in the West just a year ago winning just 67 games and coming into 2015 with little to no expectations. Banister becomes the fifth manager in history to win the award in his first year as skipper.
Joe Maddon was snatched away from the Tampa Bay Rays before the 2015 season by the Cubs and went on to win 97 games after just a 73-win season a year before by Chicago. He would lead them to the NLCS before falling short of their first World Series birth since 1945 by the Mets. He becomes the seventh manager in history to win three awards and the first Cubs skipper since Lou Pinella, also a former Ray, won the award in 2008 (coincidentally enough, the first year Maddon won). “JoMa” as he became known in Tampa Bay, also won back in 2011 after the Rays shocked the baseball world in the historic “Game 162” that sent them into the Wild Card playoff.
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