Angels' Scioscia, Rockies' Tracy named top managers

Posted: November 19, 2009

The Los Angeles Angels could have crumbled when pitcher Nick Adenhart was killed in a car accident in April, overcome by waves of grief and sadness.

Mike Scioscia, of Springfield, Delaware County, kept them moving forward.

"There wasn't one defining moment," he said. "I think as the season started to evolve guys found that sense of purpose to play baseball again and they played it at a very, very high level."

For his deft touch during a trying season, Scioscia won the AL Manager of the Year award yesterday for the second time. Jim Tracy of Colorado was selected for the NL honor.

Tracy became the second manager to win the award after taking over during the season, joining Jack McKeon for Florida in 2003. Less than an hour after the award was announced, the Rockies said Tracy had been rewarded with a 3-year contract.

"What we're talking about this afternoon, it's probably as flattering an experience as I've come to realize during the course of my professional career in athletics," Tracy said. "And obviously a new contract is extremely exciting. But what is more intriguing for me is what is still out there for our ballclub."

Tracy received 29 first-place votes and two seconds for 151 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Scioscia got 15 first-place votes, 10 seconds and one third for 106 points.

The Rockies promoted Tracy from bench coach after Clint Hurdle was fired in late May and won the wild-card race. Scioscia and the Angels paid tribute to Adenhart with their fifth AL West title in 6 years.

"Some things, you're never prepared for," Scioscia said. "But those things really weren't about us. They were about the Adenhart family and I think as we supported them we found some peace."

Colorado was 18-28 and 14 1/2 games behind NL West-leading Los Angeles when GM Dan O'Dowd dismissed Hurdle on May 29 and offered the job to Tracy.

The Rockies responded to his steady hand. They went 74-42 the rest of the way, extending the division race to the final weekend before settling for the wild card. There was no Rocktober this year - Colorado lost to the Phillies in the division series - but it was still quite the turnaround for the club and Tracy, 53, who was fired after leading the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 68-94 record in 2007.

"With as young as we are and with as much as we grew in such a short period of time, I can't even begin to tell you how much I'm looking forward to the future," he said.

Ron Gardenhire finished second in the AL voting for the second straight year and fifth time during his eight seasons as Minnesota manager. He also placed third in 2002, when Scioscia was honored for the first time, but has never won the award. Tony La Russa of the Cardinals, a four-time winner, was a distant second in the NL with 55 points.

The honors continue today with the NL Cy Young Award.

Noteworthy

* Baseball commissioner Bud Selig says he's working on tightening up the playoff schedule next season so there will be fewer off days between games. He said a new schedule probably will be presented to owners at their spring meeting.

* Longtime major league manager Davey Johnson joined the front office of the Washington Nationals and will work as a senior adviser to GM Mike Rizzo.

* Wallace "Bucky" Williams, a retired steelworker best known for playing for both of the Pittsburgh-area's Negro League baseball teams, died Monday at 102.

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