(The Sports Xchange) – Minnesota Twins manager Paul Molitor was named the American League Manager of the Year on Tuesday.
Molitor, 61, orchestrated an impressive turnaround in Minnesota that saw the Twins jump from 59-103 and a fifth-place finish in the AL Central in 2016 to 85-77 and second in the division in 2017.
Minnesota became the first team in major league history to make the playoffs after losing 100-plus games the prior season. The Twins lost to the New York Yankees in the AL wild-card game.
This marks the third time a Twins skipper has won the award. Tom Kelly won it in 1991 and Ron Gardenhire won in 2010.
Molitor received 112 points and 18 first-place votes. Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona finished second (90 points) and had 11 first-place votes.
World Series championship skipper A.J. Hinch of the Houston Astros came in third with 56 points and received a single first-place vote. Former Yankees manager Joe Girardi was fourth with 12 points.
Molitor is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame after 21 major league seasons as a player, including three with Minnesota. He posted a .306 career batting average with 3,319 hits, 234 home runs and 1,307 RBIs in 2,683 games.
Molitor is only the second Hall of Famer to be named Manager of the Year, joining Frank Robinson, who won the award with the Baltimore Orioles in 1989.