Rangers Jeff Banister American League Manager of the Year

Rangers - Jeff BanisterJeff Banister garnered 17 first-place votes and 112 points, easily topping Houston’s A.J. Hinch and Hall of Famer Paul Molitor from the Minnesota Twins, another rookie skipper to win American League Manager of the Year

Banister joined Houston’s Hal Lanier (1986), San Francisco’s Dusty Baker (1993), Florida’s Joe Girardi (2006) and Washington’s Matt Williams (2014) as the only men to win in their first season as a major league manager.

“To be able to have this in year one – tremendous,” Banister said. “But it means that we had a group of players that went out every single day, they showed up, they played well, they beat back some odds, they were resilient, they showed some grit and played together and really, truly played for each other on a nightly basis, and I was most proud of that.”

Texas won 88 games this season – 21 more than last year – in capturing the AL West title despite several significant injuries, including losing ace Yu Darvish for the entire season to elbow surgery. The Rangers won their first two playoff games in Toronto before dropping the next three and getting eliminated.

Adversity was nothing new to Banister, who overcame bone cancer with multiple operations in high school and was temporarily paralyzed from the neck down after a home-plate collision in junior college. He joined the Rangers after 29 years in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization as a player, coach and instructor at all levels.

“All the things that I’ve been through in my lifetime – and there were a lot of times that I asked why – well, there were times this year that I knew exactly why,” the 51-year-old Banister said. “It was so that I could give another group of people some thoughts, some ideas, some toughness and some motivation to continue to press forward.”

Hinch finished second with eight first-place votes and 82 points. Molitor got two first-place votes and 33 points.

New York Yankees skipper Joe Girardi received a pair of first-place votes, and Toronto’s John Gibbons got the other one.