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Mike Shildt wins NL Manager of the Year after guiding Cardinals to division title

Mark Townsend
Yahoo Sports Contributor

Mike Shildt was the right man at the right time for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Now he’s being recognized as the top man in his field after being named National League Manager of the Year on Tuesday.

Shildt received topped Craig Counsell of the Milwaukee Brewers and Brian Snitker of the Atlanta Braves in a close vote by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Shildt won 95-88, but actually got fewer first-place votes (10) than Counsell (13). Shildt got the most second-place votes with 14 — the combination of both made him the highest vote-getter.

Snitker (45) finished third, followed by Dave Roberts of the Los Angeles Dodgers (25), Dave Martinez of the Washington Nationals (15) and Torey Luvullo of the Arizona Diamondbacks (2).

Shildt gets the nod again after guiding St. Louis to 91 wins and the franchise’s first division title since 2015. This also makes Shildt the first Manager of the Year winner to never play professional baseball at any level.

He took over as Cardinals manager on an interim basis when Mike Matheny was fired on July 14, 2018. He was quickly identified as the long-term solution after leading St. Louis to a strong 41-27 finish. He brought that second-half magic back again in 2019, leading St. Louis to a 47-27 mark in the second half.

Mike Shildt wins NL Manager of the Year in first full season as St. Louis Cardinals skipper. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Shildt has earned praise for his communication skills and his willingness to adapt his style based on the game and circumstances playing out before him. The Cardinals dealt with numerous injuries in 2019, including long absences for Yadier Molina and Marcell Ozuna, but were able to stay on course.

An important reminder about the voting: It only includes regular-season performance, so the Cardinals’ NLDS victory over Brian Snitker’s Braves was not a factor in the outcome.

This is the third time a Cardinals manager has won the award, with each coming 17 years apart. Whitey Herzog took was the first back in 1985. Tony La Russa won it in 2002. Now Shildt in 2019.

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