CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians skipper Terry Francona has been named the American League Manager of the Year, Major League Baseball and the Baseball Writers Association of America announced Tuesday night.
Also the 2013 AL Manager of the Year, Francona tallied 128 points, including 22 of a possible 30 first-place votes, which gave him the win over Texas Rangers bench boss Jeff Banister and Baltimore Orioles skipper Buck Showalter, who finished second and third respectively.
Francona earned the award after leading the Indians to 94 regular-season wins and their first American League Central Division Championship since 2007. Under Francona’s guidance, the Indians advanced to the World Series for the first time since 1997 despite facing challenges of injuries to key players throughout the season.
The Indians’ 2016 season proved to be one of perseverance.
Just when it looked like the Indians suffered too many injuries to overcome, they responded and found ways to not only win games, but dominate the Detroit Tigers on the way to a division championship.
Then, the Indians used that momentum to propel them to a sweep of the Boston Red Sox in the AL Division Series and a dominating performance in five games against the Toronto Blue Jays in the Championship Series.
According to Francona, the Indians began their 2016 postseason run even before the 2015 season ended.
After struggling through the first four months of the year and having a difficult time handling play within the Central Division, the Indians finished the year out strong and came into Spring Training with a point to prove.
And prove it they did by sweeping the favorite to win the AL pennant in the first round, grounding the high-flying Blue Jays to win the ALCS for the first time in 19 years, and later, coming within a victory of Cleveland’s first World Series Championship since 1948.
The Indians made it back to the postseason without the services of outfielder Michael Brantley, who was out of the lineup because of shoulder issues since May, catcher Yan Gomes for much of the second half of the year because of a dislocated shoulder and a rotation that saw starters Carlos Carrasco (broken bone in right hand) and Danny Salazar (elbow fatigue/right forearm strain) miss the stretch run toward the American League championship.
Francona’s win marks the third time in Indians history that their skipper has won the American League Manager of the Year Award. Eric Wedge earned the honor in 2007, and Francona won in 2013.
© 2017 Associated Press