Jim Leyland, who directed the Detroit Tigers into post-season play for the first time in 19 years and ended a franchise-worst stretch of 12 losing seasons, was elected American League Manager of the Year in balloting by the BBWAA.
Leyland, 61, was the only manager listed on all 28 ballots cast by two writers in each league city. He was first on 19, second on seven and third on two to score 118 points, based on the 5-3-1 tabulation system. Leyland’s AL Central Division rival, Ron Gardenhire of the Minnesota Twins, finished second in the voting for the third time in the past four years.
Returning to the dugout after an absence of six years, Leyland inherited a club that had lost 91 games in 2005 and was only three years removed from a 119-loss season. The Tigers finished with a 95-67 record, their highest victory total since 1987 when they won 98 games and the AL East title. Detroit went on to defeat the New York Yankees in four games in the AL Division Series and sweep the Oakland Athletics in the best-of-7 AL Championship Series before losing in five games to the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. Balloting is conducted prior to post-season play.
Gardenhire, who was also the runnerup in 2004 and ’03, received the other nine first-place votes and was second on 15 ballots and third on three for 93 points. Also gaining mention were the Yankees’ Joe Torre and the Athletics’ Ken Macha.
Leyland became the third manager to win this award in each league, equaling four-time winners Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox. Leyland won in the National League with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1990 and ’92. His three overall victories tied him with Dusty Baker.
2006 AL Manager of the Year
|New York Yankees