Five-time runner-up Ron Gardenhire wins Manager of the Year

Ron Gardenhire, who had been the runner-up in five previous elections, finished on top in 2010 in winning the American League Manager of the Year Award for the first time in balloting by the BBWAA.

Gardenhire, 53, was listed first on 16 of the 28 ballots cast by two writers from each league city, second on eight and third on four to score 108 points, based on the 5-3-1 tabulation system. He was the only manager named on every ballot.

Despite the loss to injury of closer Joe Nathan for the whole season and slugging first baseman Justin Morneau for half the schedule, Gardenhire directed the Minnesota Twins to a 94-68 record and won the AL Central title for the sixth time in his nine seasons at the helm. The Twins have had only one losing season under Gardenhire, whose career record is 803-656 (.550).

While Gardenhire has been consistent in guiding the Twins to first-place finishes, he failed to do so for himself in Manager of the Year Award balloting until this year. Gardenhire ran second in each of the past two years as well as in 2006, 2004 and 2003. His only consolation has been that the lone manager to have placed second more often is four-time winner Tony La Russa, who has been a runner-up six times.

Ron Washington, who led the Texas Rangers into the World Series for the first time in franchise history, was the runner-up in this year’s voting. He was first on 10 ballots and totaled 81 points. Balloting is conducted prior to post-season play.

The other first-place votes went to the Tampa Bay Rays’ Joe Maddon, the 2008 winner who placed third with 44 points, and the Toronto Blue Jays’ Cito Gaston, who retired at the end of the season.

Gardenhire became the second Minnesota manager honored, joining 1991 winner Tom Kelly.

The voting:

2010 AL Manager of the Year

Ron Gardenhire, Minnesota Twins1684108
Ron Washington, Texas Rangers108781
Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay Rays110944
Terry Francona, Boston Red Sox2713
Cito Gaston, Toronto Blue Jays15
Joe Girardi, New York Yankees11