Can there be any choice but Kirk Gibson for manager of the year? After inheriting a dreadful Arizona team from 2010, he led the Diamondbacks to the NL West title. How can anyone top that?
Not only did the D-Backs win the West, they put the defending world champion San Francisco Giants out to pasture. Here’s how my ballot stacks up for the Baseball Bloggers Alliance Connie Mack Award for the top manager in baseball in 2011:
1. Kirk Gibson
2. Jim Leyland, Detroit Tigers
3. Charlie Manuel, Philadelphia Phillies
To reiterate, Gibson is in a class by himself.
I put Leyland at No. 2 because of the remarkable job the Tigers did, clawing their way to the top in the AL Central. It wasn’t just Justin Verlander who put them there.
And let’s not overlook the fabulous season the Phillies had, running away with the NL East title and leading all major-league teams in victories.