After winning Manager of the Year two times with the Tampa Bay Rays, Joe Maddon brought his magic to the Chicago Cubs and was named 2015 National League Manager of the Year. 

MLB Network provided the news:

Maddon won the award over New York Mets skipper Terry Collins and St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. Here is a look at the voting results:

With this win, Maddon joins Buck Showalter, Lou Piniella and Dusty Baker as three-time winners of the award. Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox are the only four-time winners. According to ESPN Stats & Info, he is the seventh manager to win the award three times and the sixth to win it in each league. 

Taking over a Cubs team that won 73 games in 2014 and had five consecutive losing seasons, Maddon was faced with a daunting task. 

Never one to shy away from a challenge, though, Maddon said at his introductory press conference in Chicago last November that he was thinking big right away, per CBS Sports’ Dayn Perry:

We’re going to set our marks high. So I’m going to talk playoffs, and I’m going to talk World Series. This year. I promise you. And I’m going to believe it. And I’m going to see how all this is going to play out. It’s within our future, there’s no question about that. I don’t know exactly when that’s going to happen, but in my mind’s eye, we’re going to the playoffs next year. That’s how I’m going to approach next season.

Everyone was aware the Cubs were building something interesting in the minors, with talent like Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Jorge Soler poised to make an impact of some kind in 2015, but even the most optimistic fans were calling Maddon crazy at the time. 

A funny thing happened along the way: The Cubs were winning right out of the gate, leading to surprise early call-ups for Russell and Kyle Schwarber. The young nucleus that also included Anthony Rizzo and breakout pitching sensation Jake Arrieta led the franchise to 97 wins in the regular season and an appearance in the NLCS for the first time since 2003. 

The Cubs’ 24-win improvement from 2014 was the most in MLB, with Texas being the only other team to break the 20-win plateau. 

Maddon has been revered as one of the best managers in baseball since he took over Tampa Bay in 2006. His work with the young Cubs in 2015 has the franchise expecting greatness moving forward and resulted in his latest Manager of the Year triumph.  

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