It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Rocco Baldelli, who guided the Twins to 101 wins in his first year on the job, was named the American League Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Tuesday. Not that it wasn’t close. Baldelli and Yankees manager Aaron Boone received the same number of first-place votes (13), but it was Baldelli’s 13 second-place votes against Boone’s nine that made the difference.
Under Baldelli’s guidance, the Twins won the AL Central and played in the AL Division Series for the first time since 2010. Baldelli became only the seventh manager in Major League Baseball history to win at least 100 games in his first season.
“Every single day when you come in, there are different challenges, and you just don’t know what those challenges are going to be,” Baldelli said. “So staying as nimble and as open-minded as you can, and just knowing that you’re not going to have everything figured out every day when you walk in and every day when you leave. But you just trust that there are people around you that are going to help you, that you are going to figure things out and make it work in the best possible way and that ultimately it’s going to be OK.”