Bobby Cox wins games so regularly people have come to expect it, and sometimes they hardly notice. Ozzie Guillen won so regularly this season, and made so much noise while doing it, people couldn't help but notice. Yesterday, the steady-as-a-rock manager of the Atlanta Braves and his colorful counterpart with the Chicago White Sox were named National League and American League managers of the year, respectively.
The award capped a crazy year for Guillen, the 41-year-old former shortstop who led the White Sox to the best record in the AL, then to the pennant, and finally to the World Series title with a sweep of the Houston Astros. In voting conducted before the postseason, Guillen received 17 of the 28 first-place votes in ballots cast by two members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America in each AL city. He beat out Cleveland's Eric Wedge and the New York Yankees' Joe Torre.
"It's not easy to manage right now because there are a lot of players making big money, a lot of players with attitudes," the outspoken Guillen said in a conference call with reporters. "The type of players I have in my clubhouse, those are the type of players that anyone can win with."
Cox, 64, won the award for the second year in a row and the fourth time overall, tying him with Tony La Russa of St. Louis and Oakland for the most ever. Though winning has become rote for the Braves -- they have now won 14 consecutive division titles under Cox -- his performance this season was widely viewed as one of his best. The Braves beat stiff competition in baseball's deepest division, the NL East, and did so not only with marquee performances from mainstays Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones, but with a hodgepodge of rookies and middling veterans.
"It's an honor again," Cox said. "It's something we don't set out to win, that's for sure."
Cox received 28 of the 32 first-place votes and was second on the four other ballots. Runner-up La Russa of the Cardinals received two first-place votes, and the other two went to Frank Robinson of the Washington Nationals. Robinson, who finished fourth in the voting behind third-place Phil Garner of Houston, had the Nationals in first place through the all-star break before they collapsed and finished at 81-81, last in the NL East.