Bob Melvin is a unique manager.
He hasn’t pigeon-holed himself as a National League or American League skipper.
On Tuesday, he was awarded his second Manager of the Year award. His previous triumph came in 2007 with the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL.
He joins a rare group of managers to win the Manager of the Year award in both leagues: Lou Pinella, Jim Leyland, Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and now Davey Johnson, who was named 2012 NL Manager of the Year just minutes before Melvin.
Melvin received 16 of the 28 first place votes, squeaking by Baltimore’s Buck Showalter. Melvin finished with 116 total points, just ahead of Showalter’s 112 total points. Showalter received the other 12 first place votes.
Both Oakland chapter writers, Matt Kawahara of the Sacramento Bee and Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News had Melvin first on their ballots.
Melvin was interviewed briefly on MLB Network after the announcement was made and he was asked for his first reaction to the news that he has won:
“Absolutely shocked. Buck had just a great year.”
Melvin’s success with the A’s is remarkable because of the team he was handed in spring training. This team was gutted by three trades during the winter. They were expected to lose 100 games.
Instead, led by a starting rotation made up of rookies, Melvin guided the young A’s to a miraculous season that included a wild comeback to snatch the AL West from the Texas Rangers on the last day of the season.
Melvin patched together a group of rookies and journeymen, building an exciting team that didn’t know how to quit. Jonny Gomes, Brandon Moss and Brandon Inge were all castoffs that became key members of the push towards the playoffs.
Josh Reddick and Yoenis Cespedes were unknown commodities coming into the season, but by the end of the season, they had become a deadly 3-4 combo in the middle of Melvin’s lineup.
It’s a deserving award for a very good manager. Melvin beat out some tough competition and overcame a perceived East coast bias to beat out Showalter.
A’s GM Billy Beane spoke to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick about the job Melvin did this year:
“I’m obviously biased. But even unbiased, Bobby was phenomenal. We played in the toughest division in baseball this season. we had the lowest payroll, and half the team was rookies. No disrespect, but in spring training all you guys [in the media] predicted we wouldn’t just finish with 100 losses, but 110 losses. I think he’s done as good a job as anybody else in the last 10 years.”