Francona and Hurdle named top managers

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Francona and Hurdle named top managers

Two championships and eight successful seasons in Boston brought Terry Francona exactly zero first-place votes in Manager of the Year balloting. It took him one year with the surprising Cleveland Indians to bag the prize.

Francona and Clint Hurdle of the Pittsburgh Pirates won the Manager of the Year awards Tuesday after guiding their small-budget teams to charming turnarounds.

In a close vote by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America panel, Francona edged old friend John Farrell of the World Series champion Red Sox, 112 points to 96 for the American League honor. “I have a feeling he wouldn’t trade what they did for this any day of the week,” Francona said on a conference call from Tucson, Arizona.

Hurdle was a runaway winner in the NL, selected first on 25 of 30 ballots after taking the Pirates to the playoffs in their first winning season since 1992.

Just like Francona, the 56-year-old Hurdle won Manager of the Year for the first time. His highest finish had been third in 2007, when he led Colorado to the World Series.

“It is so rewarding for me to see what’s happened, the synergy in the city,” Hurdle said in Pittsburgh. “To be a small part of a group that’s able to bring joy at so many different levels - that’s what’s rewarding to me in life.” Don Mattingly of the NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers came in second.

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