NEW YORK — Dusty Baker was voted National League manager of the year for the second time Thursday after leading the San Francisco Giants to a worst-to-first finish in the NL West.
The Giants went 68-94 in 1996, then traded away star Matt Williams in the winter. Forecast to finish far back, San Francisco became one of the biggest surprises in baseball, going 90-72.
The Giants finished two games ahead of the second-place Dodgers. In the final two weeks, the Giants lost first place to the Dodgers, then overtook them.
"The toughest thing is when you have a lead and you lose it and you come back, especially when you're bombarded with negatives and people telling you you're overachieving and asking when the team is going to fall," Baker said.
Baker, also voted the top NL manager in 1993, became the third manager to win the NL award twice, joining Tom Lasorda and Jim Leyland.
Baker was the only manager selected on all 28 ballots, getting 17 first-place votes, seven seconds and four thirds for 110 points.
Gene Lamont, who kept the Pittsburgh Pirates in contention all season in his first year as their manager, was second with 10 first-place votes and 92 points.
* NL manager voting, C15