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Hurdle, Francona win Manager of the Year honors

The SportsXchange

For helping his franchise end a national record of futility, the Pittsburgh Pirates' Clint Hurdle was selected the National League Manager of the Year on Tuesday.

The American League honor went to Terry Francona, who led the Indians to the postseason during his first year in Cleveland.

The Pirates snapped their run of 21 consecutive losing seasons, the longest streak in the major North American sports leagues, and advanced to the playoffs. As a result, Hurdle received 25 of 30 first-place votes from members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, easily outdistancing runner-up Don Mattingly of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Mattingly garnered two first-place votes for guiding a midseason turnaround that led the Dodgers to the NL West championship.

Third place in NL balloting went to Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, whose team ran away with the NL East title. Gonzalez received three first-place votes. The only other NL manager who received votes was St. Louis' Mike Matheny. The Cardinals wound up winning the NL championship, but the voting was conducted prior to the postseason.

Francona edged Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell for the AL honor, with the Cleveland skipper receiving 16 of 30 first-place votes.

The Indians went 68-94 in 2012 under managers Manny Acta and Sandy Alomar, but they bounced back this year after hiring Francona, who led the Red Sox to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007. Cleveland finished 92-70 this season before falling to the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL wild-card game.

Farrell, who received 12 first-place votes, was acquired by the Red Sox in a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays last winter. After spending two years as Toronto's skipper, Farrell returned to Boston, where he previously served as Francona's pitching coach. The Red Sox promptly rebounded from a 69-93 season in 2012 -- their first losing year since 1994 -- to go 97-65 this season, the best record in the AL.

Oakland A's manager Bob Melvin finished third in AL Manager of the Year voting, getting two first-place votes. In a crowded AL election, others receiving votes were the New York Yankees' Joe Girardi, the Rays' Joe Maddon, now-retired Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland, the Baltimore Orioles' Buck Showalter, the Texas Rangers' Ron Washington and the Kansas City Royals' Ned Yost.
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