Accordingly, my NL ballot is:
- Kirk Gibson - Arizona Diamondbacks
- Ron Roenicke - Milwaukee Brewers
- Tony LaRussa - St. Louis Cardinals
Speaking of comebacks, Joe Maddon continued to pull miracles out of his hat in 2011. The Tampa Bay Rays overcame a 9-game deficit to win the wildcard on the last day of the season. Somehow, a team with a $41.9M payroll managed to squeak past the Red Sox and their bloated $161M payroll (all figures as of opening day). Moneyball is alive and well and the proof is in Tampa Bay.
Ron Washington led the Texas Rangers to their second consecutive AL West division title in 2011. In spite of the loss of Cliff Lee, the team cruised to a 96-win season.
Jim Leyland proved that he can still do the job by managing the Tigers to their first division title since 1987. Their 95 wins was only two behind the New York Yankees, a team with twice the payroll than Detroit.
My ballot in the junior circuit is:
- Joe Maddon - Tampa Bay Rays
- Ron Washington - Texas Rangers
- Jim Leyland - Detroit Tigers