Miami’s Don Mattingly was named National League Manager of the Year on Tuesday after guiding the Marlins to their first playoff appearance since 2003, despite dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak that paused the season and ravaged the roster.
The Marlins’ 31-29 record marked Mattingly’s first winning season in his fifth year with the club. The former first baseman and AL MVP had a winning record in each of his five seasons as the manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Mattingly, the first Manager of the Year for the Marlins since Joe Girardi in 2006, was the AL MVP with the New York Yankees in 1985. He is the fifth person to win both MVP and Manager of the Year.
“They’re just different. The first one feels personal, and this one feels more like a team thing,” Mattingly said, “and that’s why I’m proud of it because we’ve struggled for a couple years, and for us to move forward is important, and I think this is a sign that we’re heading in that direction.”
The San Diego Padres’ Jayce Tingler finished second in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, followed by David Ross of the Chicago Cubs.
Tingler and Ross led their teams to the playoffs in their first seasons as big league managers.
After losing 105 games a year ago, Miami’s 2020 season was nearly derailed by a coronavirus outbreak during the first weekend of play. The team had to make 174 roster moves throughout the 60-game season — which included using 61 players overall, more than in any other season in team history — but managed the franchise’s first winning record since 2009.
The steady hand of Mattingly, 59, played a big role in the turnaround, which continued in the playoffs. Miami eliminated the NL Central champion Cubs in the first round before the team was swept by the Atlanta Braves in the NL Division Series.
“Over 100 losses, that’s the tough part,” Mattingly said. “It just feels good that we’re moving in the right direction.”
He also paid tribute to Marlins CEO Derek Jeter and the rest of the team’s ownership group.
“It is an organizational award. I really feel that way,” Mattingly said. “And for what we’ve been through the last couple of years, I think it’s great for our ownership and Derek and all the way down through our scouts, analytics. It’s like it’s a team effort, right? And it just shows that we’re on the way, and that’s what we’ve been trying to get to in Miami.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.