Work in Sports
McKeon named NL's top manager
Posted: Thursday November 11, 1999 12:16 AM
NEW YORK (AP) -- Jack McKeon was voted National League Manager of the Year on Wednesday 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, nine seconds and three thirds for 115 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
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 six thirds for 98 points.
McKeon, who turns 69 on Nov. 23, is the third-oldest manager in major league history behind Connie Mack, 88, and Casey Stengel, 75.
"You're only as good as your players, and we had good players," McKeon said last week when he was voted The Associated Press Manager of the Year.
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, six seconds and 10 thirds for 48 points.
Arizona's Buck Showalter was fourth with one first-place vote and 17 points. The New York Mets' Bobby Valentine was the only other manager receiving votes, getting 10 points.
McKeon led the Reds to a 96-66 record, tying them for the wild-card spot with the Mets, who won a tiebreaker playoff 5-0.
"They played hard. They had fun," McKeon said. "I just let them play. I might have been different in my early years. Later on, you realize no one playing the game wants to make a mistake. The only thing you can do is correct those mistakes as you go and let the players gain experience."
McKeon is a former manager of Kansas City, Oakland and San Diego and the former general manager of the Padres.
The Reds had the 20th-highest payroll at $38 million, and McKeon nearly got them into the postseason, the exclusive domain of the top 10 spenders.
He had hoped for a multiyear contract extension. Instead, he received a one-year deal.
"You've got to be patient with young players because if you jump on them, they have a tendency to be afraid to be aggressive and afraid to be themselves," McKeon said. "We kind of let the players do their thing."
The AL Manager of the Year award is announced Thursday, with Boston's Jimy Williams the favorite.