In a decision that came as a surprise to few in baseball, Kirk Gibson was announced as the winner of the National League Manager of the Year Award for 2011. Gibson won in a runaway vote in which he earned 28 of 32 first-place votes, and he was the only manager in either league to be named on every ballot.
The award was given following a season in which Gibson led the Diamondbacks in a remarkable improvement from a 65-win last-place finish in 2010 to a 94-win first-place finish in 2011.
Despite Gibson's accomplishments, there are some who feel the award should have gone to a more deserving winner, namely the Milwaukee Brewers' Ron Roenicke or the champion St. Louis Cardinals' Tony La Russa—both of whom received first-place votes.
While both Roenicke and La Russa had impressive seasons and deserved consideration for the award, neither manager's accomplishment compared to what Gibson pulled off in Arizona. Here are five reasons why Kirk Gibson deserved his first Manager of the Year Award.