By Jon Weisman
Remarkably, Roberts is the first Dodger named Manager of the Year by the Sporting News since Walter Alston, who won the honor in 1955, 1959 and 1963, when there was only one award to cover both leagues. Leo Durocher was the first in the franchise to win the award, in 1939.
During the Dodgers’ two World Series title seasons under Tommy Lasorda in 1981 and 1988, the Sporting News honored Oakland’s Billy Martin (1981 overall winner) and Pittsburgh’s Jim Leyland (NL 1988).
Major League managers form the voting body for this award. Roberts won seven of a possible 14 votes in the NL, followed by Washington’s Dusty Baker and Chicago’s Joe Maddon, who had three apiece.
Roberts went 91-71 in his debut season managing the Dodgers, the most wins by a first-year Dodger manager since Lasorda’s 98 in 1977.
For Seager, this was step two in an awards parade that began last week with Baseball America. He is the eighth Dodger rookie position player to be feted by the Sporting News, following Jackie Robinson (1947), Jim Gilliam (1953), Frank Howard (1960), Eric Karros (1992), Mike Piazza (1993), Raul Mondesi (1994).
From 1963 through 2003, the NL rookie award was split into player and pitcher categories, with Don Sutton (1966), Rick Sutcliffe (1979), Fernando Valenzuela (1981), Tim Belcher (1988) and Hideo Nomo (1995) winning the hurler honor. Don Newcombe was named overall TSN Rookie of the Year in 1949.
In a vote of 176 NL players, Seager won in a landslide over Washington’s Trea Turner, 143-15, with Kenta Maeda of the Dodgers finishing in third place.