We have seen this storyline before. The Milwaukee Brewers put together a successful season under the guidance of manager Craig Counsell. He gets nominated as a manager of the year finalist, but ends up getting beat out by another candidate and finishes as a runner-up. 2021 was no different.
Gabe Kapler, manager of the San Francisco Giants, was the 2021 manager of the year. He received 28 first place votes and 143 points all together. Craig Counsell had just a single first place vote, 22 second place votes, and four votes for third place. His grand total in points was 75, good enough for second place.
Former Cardinals manager Mike Shildt took third place with 25 points. Brian Snitker of the Atlanta Braves was fourth with 21 points and Dave Roberts of the Dodgers placed fifth with six points.
Why Didn’t Counsell Win This Year?
Even though the Brewers were division champs in 2021, Counsell was viewed as the under dog to win the award. Gabe Kapler’s Giants exceeded all expectations in 2021. They won 107 games and just narrowly edged out the 106 win Dodgers for the NL West Division title. The Giants offense finished second in home runs and their pitching staff was also one of the best in the league.
Since acquiring Willy Adames in May, Counsell had the Brewers firing on all cylinders until the end of the season. With the division essentially secured by the middle of September, plenty of position players and pitchers received rest at the tail end of the season. The result was the Brewers regular season ending on a gloomy note as they did not play inspiring baseball. This likely did not impact voters a ton, but it was the first time that Counsell was not managing to play catch up in September.
In the end, beating out an opposing manager who won 107 games when nobody viewed his team as a contender to start the season was not very realistic. Unfortunately for the Brewers, this now marks Counsell’s third time finishing in second place. His other second place finishes were in 2018 and 2019.
The Brewers have never had a manager of the year winner. Maybe 2022 will finally be the year.