Four seasons, eight American Legion Baseball alumni honored as Major League Baseball’s managers of the year.
In awards announced Nov. 16, Tampa Bay’s Kevin Cash (Tampa, Fla., Post 111) and San Francisco’s Gabe Kapler (Woodland Hills, Calif.) were recognized as the American League and National League Managers of the Year, respectively. It marked the fourth straight season that American Legion Baseball alumni swept the awards.
Cash and Miami’s Don Mattingly (Evansville, Ind., Post 8) won the awards in 2020; Minnesota’s Rocco Baldelli (Rhode Island) and St. Louis’ Mike Shildt (Charlotte, N.C., Post 262) took the honors in 2019; and Oakland’s Bob Melvin (Palo Alto, Calif., Post 375) and Atlanta’s Brian Snitker (Decatur, Ill., Post 105) were their respective league’s top managers.
Cash became the first manager to win consecutive awards in the American League; Bobby Cox, who did it with Atlanta in the National League, had been the only back-to-back Manager of the Year winner. Cox also played American Legion Baseball, in Selma, Calif.
“I shouldn't be in the same sentence, shouldn't be in the same conversation, none of it,” Cash told MLB.com. “Very humbling. When you think of Major League managers, or really the greats in this game, Bobby Cox is going to find himself at the top of many lists.”
Cash talked to The American Legion about his ALB experience; check that out here.
Cash’s Rays have won consecutive AL East titles and reached the playoffs in three straight seasons. This season, their 100 victories were the most in the American League.
Kapler managed the Giants to 107 regular-season victories, the most in the majors this season. They had to fend off the 106-win Dodgers to win the NL West for the first time since 2012.
Kapler’s coaching staff included Alyssa Nakken, the first female full-time coach for a major league team.
“I believe that diversity is critically important in baseball and (so is) helping people from marginalized groups get into decision-making positions in baseball,” Kapler told MLB.com. “Part of the reason I think that's important is because I think a more diverse group of people, of humans, make better decisions as a group.”