Texas Rangers manager Jeff Bannister was named the American League’s Manager of the Year Tuesday, becoming just the fifth first-year manager to win the award. Bannister had never managed a major league team before taking the reins in Arlington this season.
The award, voted by the Baseball Writers Association of America, followed a shockingly successful season for the Rangers, who rebounded from a last-place finish in 2014. Texas got off to a staggering start this year but rallied to reach the postseason by winning the West Division championship with an 88-74 regular season record. The Rangers were up 2-0 in the AL Division Series before losing to Toronto, 3 games to 2.
Banister got 17 first-place votes and 112 points. He joined Houston’s Hal Lanier (1986), San Francisco’s Dusty Baker (1993), Florida’s Joe Girardi (2006) and Washington’s Matt Williams (2014) as the only men to win in their first season as a major league manager.
“I’m truly honored,” the 51-year-old Banister said. “I get to accept the award for an entire organization.”
In the National League, Joe Maddon won his third Manager of the Year award – his first in the NL – after guiding the Chicago Cubs to their first postseason berth since 2008.
Maddon is the seventh manager to win the award three times and the seventh to earn it in both leagues. He won the AL award with Tampa Bay in 2008 and ’11.
With NL Rookie of the Year Kris Bryant anchoring a youthful lineup, Maddon’s Cubs won 97 games to finish third in the National League’s Central Division. The Cubs beat Pittsburgh in the wild-card game and the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS before losing to the New York Mets in the NL Championship Series.