by Chris Lingebach

WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — In his first year in Washington, rookie skipper Matt Williams has been awarded National League Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Williams guided the Nationals to 96 wins and an NL East title in 2014, following a season in which the club fell short of the postseason. He was announced the recipient of the honor Tuesday night on MLB Network.

“The staff was there in tact,” Williams said. “They brought me in as a new manager, let me know about the players. The players dictated how they wanted to play this game. They’re ferocious and they’re intense and they do not relent, and I got a chance to stand in the dugout and watch it.

“So this is a testament to our organization, starting at the top with the Lerner family, Mike Rizzo and his staff; it’s a testament to our everyday coaches that probably are the hardest working guys I’ve ever been around; and certainly to the guys that catch it and field it and hit it. It starts with guys that take that bump every day. We’ve got a good group of those guys. So I’m honored. I’m really honored.”

Williams, with 18 first-place votes, beat out other Manager of the Year finalists, Pittsburgh’s Clint Hurdle (8) and San Francisco’s Bruce Bochy (3).

Williams is the second Nationals manager to claim the honor: Davey Johnson won in 2012 after leading the Nats to 98 wins and the organization’s first playoff appearance.

Up I-95, Baltimore is celebrating Buck Showalter’s third AL Manager of the Year Award. He beat out Mike Scioscia of the Los Angeles Angels and Ned Yost of the Kansas City Royals, claiming 25 of 30 first-place votes.

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