Jeff Torborg directed his Chicago White Sox in a season-long chase for the American League West title. The White Sox never caught the World Series-bound Oakland Athletics, but the effort landed Torborg a prestigious honor.

Torborg, who led an amazing about-face by the White Sox, was named Manager of the Year today by The Associated Press.Torborg took a team that finished last in 1989 with a 69-92 record and guided the White Sox to 94-68 in 1990 for the second-best record in the American League and third best in the majors.

"Personally, this is very pleasing," said Torborg from Sarasota, Fla., where he is attending the White Sox organizational meetings. "It was a special year but not a `Dream Year' because we didn't win. The organization is going in the right direction."

Torborg received 70 votes from a panel of 156 sportswriters and broadcasters across the nation. Jim Leyland, who led Pittsburgh to the National League East title, finished second with 49 votes.

Lou Piniella, whose Cincinnati Reds swept the Oakland Athletics in the World Series, was third with 20 votes, and Oakland's Tony LaRussa was fourth with 11. Buck Rodgers of Montreal had three. One each went to Tom Lasorda of Los Angeles, John McNamara of Cleveland.