Piniella, Bowa named managers of the year
NEW YORK, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Lou Piniella, who led the Seattle Mariners to the most wins in the history of the game, was named American League Manager of the Year Wednesday.
The National League Manager of the Year honors went to Larry Bowa, who in just one season turned the Philadelphia Phillies into contenders. Bowa guided the Phillies, possibly the biggest surprise in the major leagues this season,to a second-place finish in the division, going from 97 losses in 2000 to 86 wins this year.
Piniella, who was third in the voting last year, stayed with the Mariners this season, bypassing the opportunity to move to a bigger market and remaining despite knowing that the club likely would lose one of the league's biggest stars in Alex Rodriguez.
Rodriguez left for the Texas Rangers, but the Mariners added Japanese sensation Ichiro Suzuki and were on their way to a landmark season. Seattle won 116 games, tying the major league record set by the Chicago Cubs in 1906.
Piniella received 22 first-place votes and 128 points in the balloting of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Art Howe of the Oakland Athletics was the runner-up for the third straight season, receiving five first-place votes and 77 points.
In what was expected to be a close vote, Bowa received 18 first-place votes and 113 points in the balloting of the Baseball Writers Association of America. The 55-year-old Bowa became the first Phillies manager to win the award since it was instituted in 1983.
Bowa was an easy winner over Jim Tracy of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who received four first-place votes and 48 points. Tracy's vote total was a surprise since the Dodgers finished third in the NL West with an 86-76 record.
Ricciardi named Blue Jays GM
TORONTO, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- The Toronto Blue Jays looked outside the organization to hire J.P. Ricciardi as general manager Wednesday in a decision that apparently has prompted assistant GM Dave Stewart to quit in protest.
Ricciardi, the director of player personnel for the Oakland Athletics the last three seasons, was hired as senior vice president/baseball operations and GM. He replaces Gord Ash, who resigned in early October.
The selection of the 42-year-old Ricciardi capped an exhaustive search by Blue Jays CEO Paul Godfrey, who was believed to be interested in Buck Showalter, the former manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, as well as former Texas Rangers GM Doug Melvin.
The Toronto Sun reported Wednesday that Stewart stepped down in protest, claiming that baseball was a "shallow industry" that was not committed to minority hiring in the front office.
"I don't want to do it anymore," Stewart told the Toronto Sun.
"I'm losing faith and losing hope."
A Blue Jays spokesman would not confirm that Stewart, who is black, has left the organization.
Lewis, 3 others in track hall of fame
INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Carl Lewis was one of four members of the 1984 United States Olympic team elected to the National Track & Field Hall of Fame on Wednesday.
Lewis, a sprinter and long jumper, was elected along with long jumper Larry Myricks, marathon-runner Alberto Salazar and steeplechase champion Henry Marsh. The four stars were part of the 1984 Olympic team that won 40 medals in Los Angeles, the highest total since women began competing in the sport in 1928.
Lewis, 40, is considered one of the gretest Olympians of all-time, and his nine gold medals ties swimmer Mark Spitz for first place on the all-time U.S. list. Lewis won four medals at the 1984 Games and won his fourth straight long jump in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. He is a 10-time World Championships medalist and former world record holder at 100 meters.
The induction ceremony will take place Nov. 30 at the Jesse Owens Awards Dinner in Mobile, Ala.
Woods, Duvall defend World title
Ranked first and third in the world, respectively, Woods and Duval form one of 24 international teams competing this week. A year ago, the American duo overcame host Argentina, which was represented by European Tour members Angel Cabrera and Eduardo Romero, to win the inaugural event.
Among those trying to unseat Woods and Duval are 30 European Tour members who combined for 21 titles this season. The South African squad includes reigning U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen and two-time U.S. Open winner Ernie Els.
Another major champion in the field is Fiji's Vijay Singh, who was made an honorary member of the European Tour in May. A two-time Masters champion, Singh was winless on the PGA Tour this year but finished fourth on the money list with more than $3.4 million.
Hewitt defeats Agassi
SYDNEY, Australia, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Lleyton Hewitt of Australia moved to within eight points of the world No. 1 ranking on Wednesday by dominating American Andre Agassi in round-robin play at the $3.65 million Tennis Masters Cup.
The second-seeded Hewitt defeated the third-seeded Agassi, 6-3, 6-4 to secure a berth in the semifinals of the final ATP tournament of the season.
Seventh-seed Sebastian Grosjean of France defeated sixth-seed Patrick Rafter of Australia, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 in Wednesday's other match.
With 20 points in each of his two wins, Hewitt has closed the gap on top-seed Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil, who can regain a 28-point cushion when he faces seventh-seed Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain on Thursday.
Sorenstam shoots for records in LPGA finale
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Nov. 14 (UPI) -- With several players seeking a piece of the pie, Annika Sorenstam will be looking to put a rich topping on her incredible season this week at the Tyco/ADT Championship.
Sorenstam leads an exclusive group at the Trump International Golf Club for the season-ending $1 million event, which gets under way Thursday.
She leads the LPGA tour with a record earnings total and is guaranteed her fourth money title, but she is looking to become the first women to reach $2 million.
With $1,990,868, Sorenstam has collected over $100,000 more than Australian Karrie Webb did during her record-setting season of 2000. And she has another record in mind this week.
Sorenstam is on pace to record the lowest scoring average in tour history, which would come with her fourth Vare Trophy. At 69.38 strokes per round, she is narrowly below the record 69.43 Webb established in 1999.
Sonics' Baker on injury list
SEATTLE, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Seattle SuperSonics forward Vin Baker, who underwent surgery on his right knee in August, was placed on the injured list Tuesday with a bone contusion on his left knee.
Baker sat out Sunday's 99-84 victory over the Washington Wizards and had X-rays taken Monday. He scored at least 20 points in four consecutive games before sitting out and is averaging 18.0 points and 7.9 rebounds.
The 6-11 Baker came to Seattle from the Milwaukee Bucks in a three-team trade on Sept. 25, 1997. He averaged 19.2 points and 8.0 rebounds in his first season with the Sonics and was named to the All-NBA second team. But he was limited to 34 games in 1998-99 due to a right knee injury and a partially torn thumb ligament.
Baker, 29, has not been the same player, averaging 14.4 points and 6.7 board since that