<
>

Pena overwhelming choice in AL

NEW YORK -- Jack McKeon was voted NL Manager of the Year
after turning around the Florida Marlins' season, and Tony Pena won the AL
honor for keeping the Kansas City Royals in contention until the final week.

McKeon received 19 of 32 first-place votes and 116 points in
balloting released Wednesday by the Baseball Writers' Association of
America, becoming the first manager to win the award after taking
over a team during the season. He also won the award with
Cincinnati in 1999.

Dusty Baker, a three-time winner of the award, finished second
with 62 points after leading the Chicago Cubs to the NL Central title in
his first season as Chicago's manager.

The Atlanta Braves' Bobby Cox was next with 56 points, followed by Felipe
Alou -- Baker's replacement in San Francisco -- with 51.

Pena was an overwhelming choice for the AL award, getting 24
first-place votes and 130 points. The Minnesota Twins' Ron Gardenhire was
second with four firsts and 44 points.

McKeon, 72, is the third-oldest manager in major league history,
trailing Hall of Famers Connie Mack (88) and Casey Stengel (75).

Florida was 16-22 when McKeon replaced Jeff Torborg on May 11.
The Marlins dropped to 10 games under on May 22, then rebounded to
finish 91-71 and win the NL wild card.

Voting took place before the postseason, when Florida upset San
Francisco in the first round, overcame a 3-1 deficit to beat the
Cubs in the NL championship series, then rebounded from a 2-1
deficit to beat the New York Yankees in the World Series. It was
McKeon's first time in the postseason.

Pena took over the Royals in May 2002 and Kansas City finished
62-100, its first 100-loss season. The Royals won their first nine
games this year, got off to a 16-3 start and were 51-41 at the
All-Star break, leading the AL Central by seven games.

But they slumped in the second half and wound up 83-79, their
first winning season since 1994. Kansas City used 29 pitchers,
including an AL-high 15 starters, and set a team record by using 53
players.

Kansas City and Florida managers had not won the award before.