Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister and Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon were named AL and NL Managers of the Year for 2015.
Banister, who had spent nearly 30 years in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, led the Rangers to an unexpected AL West title. The Rangers were not expected to contend due to injuries to Yu Darvish, Derek Holland and other members of their pitching staff. But Banister proved a great motivator and helped the Rangers make a late season surge past the Houston Astros.
Maddon won his third Manager of the Year award, but first in the NL as he led the Cubs to their first post-season appearance since 2008. He won the AL Manager of the Year twice during his tenure with the Tampa Bay Rays first in 2008 when they won the AL pennant and again in 2011. Maddon was lured away from the Rays by Cubs President Theo Epstein a year ago. While the Cubs had an abundance of young talent with the likes of NL Rookie of the Year Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, Kyle Schwarber, Addison Russell and likely NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta, the Cubs would not have won 97 games without Maddon.
If I were a big league player, I’d love to play for Maddon. In a lot of clubhouses, the veterans humiliate the rookies and younger players by making them do humiliating things. On Maddon’s team, everybody gets in on the fun. He has long had costume themes on his team’s road trips whether it’s pajamas, lettermen sweaters or as hippies. However they dress it keeps the team loose. It’s also helped him be Manager of the Year three times.