NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Billy Beane's handiwork in transforming the low-budget A's into baseball's best story by way of a 94-win season that culminated in a playoff appearance was already recognized when he was named The Sporting News' MLB Executive of the Year.
Now, the A's vice president and general manager has another award under his belt, having earned a Greatness in Baseball Yearly (GIBBY) Award as MLB Executive of the Year.
Major League Baseball's A-listers won 2012 GIBBYs trophies -- the ultimate honors of baseball's awards season -- based on votes by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, fans at MLB.com and the Society for American Baseball Research.
This year's GIBBY Awards featured nominees in 21 categories. Individual honors went to the MLB MVP, in addition to the year's best starting pitcher, hitter, closer, setup man, rookie, breakout hitter, breakout pitcher, comeback player, defensive player, manager and postseason performer.
GIBBYs trophies were also awarded for the year's top play, storyline, hitting performance, pitching performance, oddity, walk-off, Cut4 topic and postseason moment, from MLB.com's Must C highlight reels.
Beane built a club that not only improved by 20 games -- from 74-88 in 2011 to 94-68 -- but won its last six games to claim the division title over the two-time defending American League champion Rangers and Angels. The A's took the Tigers to Game 5 of the AL Division Series, before falling to Detroit's Justin Verlander, whose dominating performance ended Oakland's inspiring season.
It marked the first time a team won a division or pennant after trailing by at least five games with nine to play, and the A's did it by beating Texas five times in the final nine days, including the last three. This after the offseason trades of All-Star pitchers Gio Gonzalez, Trevor Cahill and Andrew Bailey, moves that had the seemingly rebuilding A's staring down expectations of a 100-loss season.
Yet several of the young players they got in return from these same trades -- outfielder Josh Reddick, pitchers Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone and Ryan Cook, and catcher Derek Norris -- played significant roles in the A's resurgence. Furthermore, Beane found role players in the likes of Jonny Gomes, Seth Smith and Brandon Moss.