Clint Hurdle, Terry Francona take Manager of Year honors for big turnarounds

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The only other Pittsburgh manager to win was Jim Leyland in 1990 and 1992, the bookends to three consecutive division titles for the Pirates.

After that, they endured a record 20 straight losing seasons — the longest drought in any of the four major professional sports — before going 94-68 this year to capture an NL wild card.

Riding a wave of excitement from a rejuvenated fan base in a city finally enthralled by baseball again, Pittsburgh beat Cincinnati in the wild-card game before losing to league champion St. Louis in a division series that went the full five games.

“I’m a realist, but I am an optimist,” said Hurdle, who has managed the Pirates for three seasons. “Everybody played a part.”

Hurdle was chosen second on the other five ballots and was the only NL manager picked on every one. He had 140 points in the 5-3-1 scoring system to 68 for Mattingly, who received two first-place votes. Gonzalez got three first-place votes and had 43 points.

Mike Matheny of the Cardinals was the only other skipper to appear on a ballot. He was tabbed second by four voters and third by seven.

Cy Young Award winners will be announced Wednesday evening, and MVPs on Thursday.

Francona garnered 16 first-place votes to 12 for Farrell, who lifted the Red Sox from last place to first in the AL East in his debut season as their manager. Boston won 97 games, tied for most in the majors, one year after going 69-93 under Bobby Valentine.

Bob Melvin, last year’s winner, received the other two first-place votes and came in third after his low-payroll Oakland Athletics won their second consecutive AL West crown.

Francona never received a first-place vote during eight seasons as manager of the Red Sox. He had never finished higher than fourth for this award in 12 years as a big league skipper, including his stint with Philadelphia.

After a messy split from the Red Sox following their 2011 collapse, Francona spent a year in broadcasting that he said helped him become more patient and less stubborn.

This season with the Indians was one of his most fun in baseball, he said, and he loves the people he works for because when challenges arise “we tackle them together.”

“Boston is, you’re not really supposed to ever lose a game, and that’s difficult to do,” Francona said, adding the job there is “to manage all the noise that’s around the team so the guys can play.”

“You can’t have all that passion and not have some of the headaches that come with it,” he explained. “It’s a little different in Cleveland because it’s more just baseball, which I enjoy.”

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