Jack McKeon wins Manager of the Year after turning around Marlins

Jack McKeon, who took over the Florida Marlins when they had a 16-22 record and led them to a wild-card playoff berth, was elected National League Manager of the Year in balloting announced by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

McKeon, at 72 the third oldest manager in history behind only Connie Mack and Casey Stengel, was listed first on 19 of the 32 ballots cast by two writers in each league city and finished with 116 points, based on a 5-3-1 tabulation system. He is the first manager who was hired during a season to be honored. It is the second victory in this election for McKeon, who was the winner in 1999 with the Cincinnati Reds.

McKeon was hired by the Marlins May 11 to replace Jeff Torborg, who was fired. The Fish were 75-49 (.605) under McKeon and qualified as the wild-card entry into postseason play. Florida went on to win its second World Series, but the balloting only takes into account accomplishments during the regular season.

McKeon, who had previous tours as manager in Kansas City, Oakland and San Diego as well as Cincinnati, had never before guided a team into postseason play. He became the oldest manager to reach postseason play for the first time, a distinction that had belonged to the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Burt Shotton, 62, in the 1947 World Series.

Three-time winner Dusty Baker, who in his first season in Chicago led the Cubs to the NL Central title, finished second in the balloting with 62 points, although two other previous winners received more first-place votes than the two he received. Baker was second on 15 ballots and third on seven.

Bobby Cox, whose NL East champion Atlanta Braves won their 12th consecutive division title, was first on six ballots and placed third overall with 56 points. Five first-place votes went to Felipe Alou, who in his first year with the San Francisco Giants won the NL West crown. Alou totaled 51 points. The only other manager to receive support was the Montreal Expos’ Frank Robinson with three third-place votes.

The vote:

2003 NL Manager of the Year

JACK McKEONFlorida Marlins1963116
DUSTY BAKERChicago Cubs215762
BOBBY COXAtlanta Braves651156
FELIPE ALOUSan Francisco Giants56851
FRANK ROBINSONMontreal Expos33