Less than a week after his mother died, Mike Shildt was honored for piloting the St. Louis Cardinals back into the playoffs, narrowly beating Craig Counsell of the Milwaukee Brewers to win NL Manager of the Year.
Shildt earned the award in his first full season on the job, even though Counsell received more first-place votes (13-10) from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli won the AL prize in a tight finish over Aaron Boone of the New York Yankees. Both received 13 first-place votes, but Baldelli got more second-place nods (13-9). The 38-year-old is the youngest to win the award.
The 51-year-old is the first manager of the year who never played pro ball, but he’s been around the game since he was a child. His mom worked as an administrative assistant for the Charlotte O’s in the Baltimore Orioles’ system, and Shildt was a regular in the clubhouse.
Shildt replaced Mike Matheny as Cardinals manager during the 2018 season, and under his steady guidance, St. Louis has been among baseball’s best teams since. The club won 91 games and the NL Central crown this year, ending the franchise’s three-year postseason drought. The Cardinals gave Shildt a contract extension through the 2022 season.
Baldelli and Shildt are the eighth and ninth managers to win this award in their first full seasons on the job.