Former Midwest League player and Baseball Hall-of-Famer Paul Molitor was named the American League Manager of the Year on Tuesday, rewarded for leading the Minnesota Twins to the playoffs one year after the team lost 103 games.
The Twins went 85-77 in the regular season and were eliminated by the New York Yankees in the AL Wild Card Game.
Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona finished second in the voting, 22 points behind Molitor. The Tribe went 102-60 in the regular season and won the AL Central Division. They also were knocked out of the playoffs by the Yankees, who in turn where eliminated by the eventual World Series champions, the Houston Astros.
Molitor played 64 games with the 1977 Burlington Bees, batting .346 with 8 HR, 50 RBI and 14 SB. He was named the Midwest League MVP and Prospect of the Year, and the Bees won the MWL championship that year.
That was Molitor’s only year in the minor leagues, though he made two brief rehab stints later in his career. One of those rehab stints was a single-game appearance with the 1990 Beloit Brewers, for whom he went 2-for-4 with a solo homer.
Francona didn’t play in the Midwest League, but he managed there in 1992. He led the South Bend White Sox to a 73-64 record. The team included future major-leaguer Mike Cameron, whose son Daz played part of the 2016 season and most of the 2017 season with the Quad Cities River Bandits before ending the 2017 campaign with the West Michigan Whitecaps.
Arizona Diamondbacks skipper Torey Lovullo won the National League Manager of the Year award. The D-backs went 93-69 in the regular season and made the playoffs for the first time since 2011. They were swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Division Series round of the playoffs.
Yost injured in fall from tree
Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost broke his pelvis and four ribs when he fell about 20 feet from a tree stand on his property earlier this month. You can read about the incident here.
Yost played in the Midwest League when he was a New York Mets minor-leaguer. He batted .192 with 6 HR and 27 RBI in 79 games with the 1975 Wausau Mets. (Wausau was the MWL team that moved to Kane County and became the Cougars in 1991.)