Joe Maddon voted most popular MLB manager

Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon, right, argues with home plate umpire Jim Wolf after Maddon challenged a check swing call on Texas Rangers batter Michael Young during the fifth inning of Game 2 of the American League Division Series, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Fla. Young hit a three-run home run on the next pitch. Maddon was ejected for arguing.
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara
Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon, right, argues with home plate umpire Jim Wolf after Maddon challenged a check swing call on Texas Rangers batter Michael Young during the fifth inning of Game 2 of the American League Division Series, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2010 in St. Petersburg, Fla.
AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

The players have spoken and Joe Maddon is the most popular manager in Major League Baseball.

Well, to be precise, 291 players have spoken in a new poll by SI.com, and 14 percent of them voted the Tampa Bay Rays skipper as the league's most likable.

Maddon has a reputation for being a player's manager so the results aren't too surprising. Neither is his reaction to the poll, which was to deflect credit.

"My first response is it's really a humbling thought," Maddon told TampaBay.com. "The second one is that it means we're doing a lot of things right here ... and I want to emphasize the word we there."

Players clearly like Maddon in part for his unorthodox approach . Last week, he decided to incorporate a road-trip approach at home - allowing players to arrive later to the ballpark and do less onfield work.

"I just want to back off work," Maddon said last week. "Guys swing way too much. At this time of the year I would prefer them swinging the bat less. I want them to be fresh and ready to go at (game time). I prefer a fresh mind and body right now."

Sleep in and do less work? No wonder he's so popular.

Maddon also has a sense of humor. Last year, after Derek Jeter infamously pretended to be hit by a pitch against the Rays, the Tampa manager had an interesting reaction.

"There's several thespians throughout baseball," Maddon said. "I thought Derek did a great job, and I applaud it, because I wish our guys would do the same thing."

In the SI.com poll, Red Sox manager Terry Francona was a close second with 12 percent of the vote. The other top 15 (of 30 total teams), in order:

3. Jim Leyland, Tigers

4. Mike Scioscia, Angels

5. Dusty Baker, Reds

6. Ozzie Guillen, White Sox

7. Joe Girardi, Yankees

8. Tony La Russa, Cardinals

9. Ron Gardenhire, Twins

10. Bud Black, Padres

11. Charlie Manuel, Phillies

12. Ron Washington, Rangers

13. Jim Tracy, Rockies

14. Bruce Bochy, Giants

15. Don Mattingly, Dodgers

As CBSSports.com's Matt Snyder points out, players weren't asked to rank the managers, just to pick one. So some managers could have been the second most liked by many players and not gotten many votes.

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com