(Reuters) - Jeff Banister of the American League Texas Rangers and Joe Maddon of the National League Chicago Cubs, who both produced turnaround seasons, won Manager of the Year honors in results announced on Tuesday.
Maddon, a two-time winner of the American League award while managing the Tampa Bay Rays, directed the Cubs to 97 wins, 24 more than in 2014, for the third-best record in Major League Baseball and a wild card berth in the playoffs.
Banister, in his first season as a major league manager, oversaw an improvement of 21 games to 88 victories that gave the injury-hit Rangers the AL West title.
The Texas manager received 17 of 30 first-place votes and 112 points, 30 more than runner-up A.J. Hinch of the Houston Astros (eight first-place votes). The third finalist, Minnesota Twins’ Paul Molitor, had 33 points and two first-place votes.
Maddon claimed 18 first-place votes on his way to 124 points, with St. Louis Cardinals skipper Mike Matheny next with 87 points and nine first-place votes. Mets manager Terry Collins finished third with 49 points and three top votes.
Voting members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America cast ballots prior to postseason games.
Banister’s Rangers overcame a spate of injuries, most prominently Japanese pitching ace Yu Darvish, who was lost for the season, and made a late-season charge to claim the division title despite standing 8-1/2 games off the pace in August.
Maddon, in his first season in charge of the Cubs, relied on a core of talented young players, including NL Rookie of the Year Kris Bryant, to shrug off the team’s history of failure and image as lovable losers on the way to the playoffs.
“It’s really staggering to do it twice in the American League and get it in the National League and be part of this wonderful Cubs organization,” said Maddon, the seventh manager to win three or more awards and seventh to win in both leagues.
“It’s about the players. A lot of it has to do with the fact that we had all these young players that came to the forefront this year and are able to win 97 games.
“At the end of the day, it’s a players’ game. To be the steward of this wonderful group of young players, I feel very fortunate,” Maddon told MLB TV.
Banister was also humbled.
“I’m truly honored and blessed,” said Banister, who had never managed above the Double A minor league level before this season. “It’s an organizational award for me. I get to accept the award for an entire organization.”
Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes