Arizona manager Kirk Gibson, at left, was voted the NL Manager of the Year in a clear choice Wednesday, taking the Diamondbacks from worst to first. Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon won the AL Manager of the Year for the second time in his career Wednesday.
NEW YORK — Kirk Gibson and Joe Maddon won Manager of the Year awards Wednesday — one for overseeing a worst-to-first turnaround that lasted all season, the other after a frantic playoff push in the final month.
Gibson was a clear choice in the NL for guiding the Arizona Diamondbacks to the West title. A former MVP as a rough-and-tumble outfielder, Gibson was honored in his first full season as a big league manager.
"I certainly had a vision," Gibson said on a conference call during a vacation in northern Michigan, adding, "It's certainly not all because of me."
Maddon won the AL award for the second time. He was an easy pick after helping the Tampa Bay Rays overcame a nine-game deficit to beat out Boston for the wild-card spot on the last day. It was the biggest rally any team had made in September to claim a playoff berth.
"I like to think of it as a validation of the Rays' way of doing things," Maddon said on a conference call while visiting family and friends in Hazleton, Pa.
The results were announced by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. The NL Cy Young Award winner will be revealed Thursday, with Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers the leading candidate.
Gibson and the Diamondbacks went 94-68, a year after he took over in midseason as Arizona went 65-97. Stressing fundamentals and details from the first day of spring training, the 54-year-old Gibson pushed his team into the playoffs, where it lost to Milwaukee in the 10th inning of the deciding Game 5 in the opening round.
Gibson drew 28 of the 32 first-place votes and got 152 points. He was the only manager in either league to be listed on every ballot.
Ron Roenicke of the NL Central champion Brewers was second with three first-place votes and 92 points. Tony La Russa of the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals was third with the other first-place vote and 24 points. Voting was completed before the start of the playoffs.
The free-spirited Maddon added to the AL honor he won in 2008. The 57-year-old manager who likes to speak on a vast array of subjects beyond baseball never panicked, even when the Rays started out 0-6 this season after losing several players to free agency during the winter.
Tampa Bay won its final five games to earn its playoff spot on the final day of the regular season, then lost to Texas in the first round. The Rays reached the playoffs for the third time in four years.
"My goal has been to make the Rays into the next century's Yankees, Red Sox, Cardinals," he said.
Maddon drew 26 of 28 first-place votes and had 133 points. Jim Leyland of the AL Central champion Detroit Tigers got the other pair of first-place votes and 54 points and Ron Washington of the AL champion Rangers was third with 31.
Gibson was a two-time World Series champion, winning with Detroit and the Dodgers. He was the fourth former MVP to win the manager award, joining Joe Torre, Frank Robinson and Don Baylor.
As a player, Gibson acknowledged he sometimes was "a little emotional ... a little stupid."
"As a manager, you can't lose your composure," he said.
Gibson and Bob Melvin (2007) have won the manager award with Arizona.
Maddon is the seventh multiple winner of the AL award. La Russa won three times in the AL and once in the NL.