Scioscia named top AL skipper
NEW YORK, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Mike Scioscia, who guided the Anaheim Angels to their first World Series title this year, Wednesday was named American League Manager of the Year.
His postseason success was not a factor in the voting, but Scioscia did a remarkable job of guiding a team that got off to the worst 20-game start in franchise history to a 99-63 finish, setting a club record for wins.
Scioscia, in his third year at the helm of the Angels, received 17 first-place votes and a total of 116 points from the Baseball Writers Association of America. His AL West counterpart, Art Howe of the Oakland Athletics, received nine first-place votes and a total of 74 points.
Ron Gardenhire, who surprisingly led the Minnesota Twins to the Central Division title in his first year as manager, received the other two first-place votes and was third with 59 points.
With a mix of proven veterans and hungry youngsters, Scioscia's troops edged out two more higher-salaried teams, Boston and Seattle, for the final AL playoff spot.
Howe led Oakland to its third straight postseason berth, but after the team was eliminated in the Division Series for the third straight year, the Athletics opted to let Howe leave and take a similar post with the New York Mets late last month.
In 2002, he found a way to overcome the loss of Jason Isringhausen, Jason Giambi and Johnny Damon. His outfield was relatively unproductive, but he made some tough personnel calls and did a superb job of guiding his talented, but young, team.
Howe, who has finished second in the balloting in each of the last two seasons, also made a little history when he guided Oakland to a 20-game winning streak after the All-Star break.
Gardenhire, a former major league infielder who got off to a slow start in the face of contraction talk, guided his young team skillfully. The Twins had a pitching staff plagued by injuries, and having a inexperienced bullpen didn't help.
Almost lost in his success was the ease with which he replaced the legendary and popular Tom Kelly.
Joe Torre, who led the New York Yankees to their fifth straight AL East crown, finished fourth with three points.
La Russa is top NL manager
NEW YORK, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Tony La Russa, who guided the St. Louis Cardinals to a division title in a season marred by the tragic death of pitcher Darryl Kile, Wednesday was named National League Manager of the Year.
The Cardinals posted a 97-65 record and won the NL Central behind La Russa, who became the first four-time winner of the award that began in 1983. He won it in the American League with the Chicago White Sox in 1983 and with the Oakland Athletics in 1988 and '92.
La Russa gained 22 first-place votes and 129 points in the balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. He is only the second manager to win in both leagues, joining Bobby Cox of the Atlanta Braves, who was the runner-up in this election.
The remaining first-place vote went to Dusty Baker of the NL champion San Francisco Giants, who was fifth overall with 18 points.
Voting took place at the end of the regular season.
In a competitive NL Central, La Russa helped the team keep its focus, fending off the late charge of the Houston Astros. The Cardinals overcame numerous injuries to their pitching staff as well as the death of Kile. The Cardinals
family also sustained the passing of legendary Hall of Fame broadcaster Jack Buck, who was popular with many players.
The only other St. Louis manager to win the award was Whitey Herzog in 1985.
Cox guided the Braves to the best record in the NL at 101-59. The Braves their 11th straight division title.
Cox, who received nine first-place votes and 93 points, led Atlanta to the East Division title despite getting little offensive production from a couple of key positions.
He did move former starter John Smoltz to the bullpen and it worked like a charm. Cox also showed patience with some of his young starters.
Frank Robinson of the Montreal Expos was third in the voting, receiving six second-place votes and five for third for 23 points.
Robinson's Expos finished well behind the Braves, but the job he did with the financially-strapped team was nothing less than miraculous.
With a squad of inexperienced hitters that did not even know if it would play next season, Robinson held the Expos together.
A trio of NL West managers, Jim Tracy of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Baker, and Bob Brenly of the Arizona Diamondbacks, were next in the voting. Tracy had 22 points and Brenly two.
The only other manager to receive a vote was Bob Boone of the Cincinnati Reds, who had one ballot for third.
Bonds leads Sluggers winners
Texas Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez, Chicago Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa, and four members of the New York Yankees -- catcher Jorge Posada, first baseman Jason Giambi, second baseman Alfonso Soriano and outfielder Bernie Williams --also received awards, which are presented by Hillerich and Bradsby Co., the maker of Louisville Slugger bats.
The awards honor the best offensive players at each position in each league and are voted on by major league managers and coaches.
Bonds, who is expected to be named the National League's Most Valuable Player next week, led the majors with a .370 batting average for his first career batting title, and had 46 home runs, 110 RBI and a record 198 walks. Piazza hit .280 with 33 homers and 98 RBI.
Sosa led the NL with 49 homers and earned his sixth Silver Slugger award. He has 499 career homers. Vladimir Guerrero of the Montreal Expos was the other NL outfielder to win the award.
First baseman Todd Helton of the Colorado Rockies, second baseman Jeff Kent of the Giants, shortstop Edgar Renteria and third baseman Scott Rolen, both of the St. Louis Cardinals, and pitcher Mike Hampton of the Rockies completed the
NL list of Silver Slugger winners.
Rodriguez led the majors with 57 home runs and captured his sixth Slugger award.
Giambi had 41 homers, 122 RBI and hit .314. Soriano just missed the 40-40 club, hitting 39 homers with 102 RBI, 209 hits, and 41 stolen bases.
Also honored were Oakland Athletics third baseman Eric Chavez, outfielders Garret Anderson of the Anaheim Angels and Magglio Ordonez of the Chicago White Sox, and designated hitter Manny Ramirez of the Boston Red Sox.
Two Virginia Tech players ailing
BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Seventh-ranked Virginia Tech, still smarting from its first loss of the season, is preparing for its football game Saturday without two key performers.
Sophomore tailback Kevin Jones will be on the sidelines for at least two weeks, likely longer, because of a strained left hamstring.
Jones, part of a strong 1-2 rushing tandem for Hokies, was injured in last Saturday's surprising 28-21 loss to Big East foe Pittsburgh. He was hurt in the first quarter and left the contest after just four yards on two carries.
For the season, Jones has 708 yards on 121 carries and has nine touchdowns. Along with junior Lee Suggs, he gives the Gobblers a formidable ground attack. Suggs has 956 yards on 170 carries and 14 touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Coach Frank Beamer has revealed that linebacker Michael Crawford has been lost because of lymphoma, a form of cancer which affects the lymph nodes.
School officials say Crawford, 21, had a swollen lymph node in his neck last week that looked suspicious. He was sent to a hospital in his native Baltimore for further tests, the results of which indicated a malignancy of the affected node.
A spokesman said he will have an open biopsy and further diagnostic testing over the next several days. Those tests will determine both the type and duration of treatment he will need.
"It's premature to say he has cancer," said team physician P. Gunnar Brolinson. "I'd say the likelihood is relatively high."
Crawford is likely to play for the last time this season against the Orangemen. He told his teammates last Friday, the day before the Pittsburgh loss.
"It was real shocking," said Suggs. "But Mike told everybody not to worry about it, that he'd be back. That's how Mike is."
Carter sidelined by gimpy knee
TORONTO, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- The Toronto Raptors say star forward Vince Carter likely will miss two weeks with a knee injury.
Carter, a three-time NBA All-Star, was injured in last Saturday's game against the Houston Rockets. He suffered a quadriceps tendon in his left knee.
Team doctors have discovered that the 6-6 former North Carolina All-American has jumper's knee, an ailment which could be a problem throughout his career. He had offseason left knee surgery.
"I'm not scared. I'm frustrated," Carter, who played in exhibition games in China before training camp, said to reporters Tuesday. "It was a long summer and to have to sit out again for the same thing is pretty disappointing."
The Raptors also expect to be without power forward Antonio Davis for about a week. He is suffering from a rib strain.
Toronto hosts unbeaten Dallas Wednesday night.
Lions ink Cooper
ALLEN PARK, Mich., Nov. 6 (UPI) -- The Detroit Lions have signed running back Rafael Cooper to their active roster.
Contract terms were not disclosed.
Cooper, 5-11, 205, originally was signed to the Lions' practice squad on Sept. 2, 2002 after spending training camp with the Tennessee Titans, who had allocated him to the Amsterdam Admirals for the 2002 NFL Europe season.
While with the Admirals, Cooper started eight games and led the league with 10 touchdowns -- eight rushing, one receiving and one kickoff return. He rushed for 751 yards, caught 29 passes for 238 yards, and returned 11 kickoffs for 370 yards.
Cooper played college football at both the University of Louisville and University of Minnesota following an All-America high school career in Detroit.
The Lions also have signed defensive back LaVar Glover to the practice squad.
Glover, 5-10, 175, was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers with their first selection in the seventh-round of the 2002 NFL Draft, but was waived on Aug. 26. He was claimed by Cincinnati Bengals, where he finished the preseason and was signed to the practice squad. The Bengals released Glover from the practice squad on Oct. 17.
Glover started every game in his last two season at Cincinnati. He was Bearcat walk-on in 1997.