Jack McKeon was voted National League manager of the year today after keeping the low-budget Cincinnati Reds in contention for the playoffs until the final day of the season. McKeon received 17 first-place votes, 9 seconds and 3 thirds for 115 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
"I've been in the game 50 years now and this has probably been my most rewarding year," McKeon said.
McKeon, who will turn 69 on Nov. 23, is the third-oldest manager in major league history behind Connie Mack, 88, and Casey Stengel, 75. "I feel like I'm a 45-year-old," McKeon said. "I'd like to continue for four, five years at least. Maybe they won't want me, but that's the way I feel."
Atlanta's Bobby Cox, who led his team to the NL Championship Series for the eighth straight year, was second with 10 firsts, 14 seconds and 6 thirds for 98 points.
McKeon is a former manager of Kansas City, Oakland and San Diego and the former general manager of the Padres. He led the Reds to a 96-66 record this season, tying them for the wild-card spot with the Mets, who won a tiebreaker game, 5-0. "We were fortunate last year that we had a lot of young guys who were hungry," McKeon said. "The woods are full of one-year phenoms. We have to continue to do it."
Larry Dierker, who returned from midseason brain surgery to lead the Houston Astros to their third straight NL Central title, finished third. He received four first-place votes. Arizona's Buck Showalter was fourth with one first-place vote and 17 points.
Mets' Infield Shines
The New York Mets fell short in their bid to put three or more of their record-setting infielders on the National League Gold Glove team. Shortstop Rey Ordonez won his third straight Gold Glove and third baseman Robin Ventura won his sixth, but first baseman John Olerud and second baseman Edgardo Alfonzo fell short.
San Francisco's J.T. Snow won at first base for the fifth straight season, and Cincinnati's Pokey Reese won at second base for the first time.
"It was an injustice," Ordonez said as his wife, Gloryann, translated. "Edgardo had an awesome year defensively. He really deserved that."
Olerud and Ventura each had nine errors and Alfonzo five, none on grounders. Ordonez made just four errors, none after June 13.
Atlanta pitcher Greg Maddux won his 10th consecutive Gold Glove, breaking a tie with Bob Gibson for the most by an NL pitcher. Jim Kaat has the overall record of 16. Philadelphia catcher Mike Lieberthal joined Reese as a first-time winner.
In the outfield, Colorado's Larry Walker won for the fifth time, Arizona's Steve Finley won his third and Atlanta's Andruw Jones won for the second straight season.