Over at the Baseball Bloggers’ Alliance, we will be voting over the coming weeks on our award winners for the regular season. First up yesterday was my pick for the AL Connie Mack Award, which you can find my vote here. Today I’ll be voting on the National League’s manager of the Year, the Connie Mack Award winner.
The National League had a lot more viable candidates than the American League in my opinion, mainly due to the amazing pennant races that happened in the West and the East. These are in order from east to west (approximately), and I will have my final vote at the bottom.
Charlie Manuel (PHI)
Yes, he has the most talent in the National League on his roster. Yes, they went out and added even more talent at the trading deadline in the form of Roy Oswalt. But this is also a team that lost it’s All Star 2B for nearly 50 games and it’s former MVP SS for nearly half the season due to injuries. And yet, they made a late season charge while this was going on, going on a 49-19 run to finish the season, catching and ultimately passing the Braves for the division crown.
Bobby Cox (ATL)
The sentimental favorite to be sure as he is retiring after the postseason, Cox’s Braves were not particularly expected to be competitive in the NL East, and got off to a hot start. Of some note is the fact that the team nearly collapsed out of the playoffs, finally clinching the Wild Card on the last day of the season.
Dusty Baker (CIN)
As much as there were no expectations for the Braves, there were even less for the Reds. Baker took a team of young pitchers and selected veterans and led them to the NL Central crown. While his usage of pitchers has always been a bit of a concern, he appears to have done well to mix and match his pitchers, especially with regard to rookies Travis Wood and Mike Leake.
Jim Tracy (COL)
It seems like every year, the Rockies make a ridiculous push in August and September to try and get themselves into the playoffs. This year was no different, as the Rockies went 15-12 in August and won 10 straight in the beginning of September to get themselves right next to the top of the standings in the NL West. Unfortunately, the team did not play well the last 2 weeks of the season, and ultimately finished in 3rd place in the division.
Bruce Bochy (SF)
The Giants were widely expected to have great pitching, and suspect offense coming into 2010. Once the Giants moved C Bengie Molina to the Rangers and gave the starting job to rookie Buster Posey, the team took off. In July, they went 20-8 to get back into the race, and in September went 18-8 to hold off the Padres for the division title.
Bud Black (SD)
There was no team that was a bigger surprise this season than the Padres. Widely expected to be sellers within the first months of the season, the team got off to a hot start, and held the division lead until the 25th of September. Pieced together with one definitive star and a lot of role players, the team outperformed everyone’s expectations and were led by a stellar pitching staff.
- Bud Black (SD)
- Dusty Baker (CIN)
- Bruce Bochy (SF)
For me, the fact that the Padres were not expected to do anything but roll over from day 1 makes me believe that Black was the best manager in the NL this season. The team was in the pennant race until 9 days left in the season, and when I looked at the roster of players that were starters for this team, it definitely did not scare anyone particularly. That alone gives him my vote.