SAN FRANCISCO -- Though Bruce Bochy didn't win the National League Manager of the Year Award, San Francisco's skipper remains highly regarded within the baseball industry. Winning two World Series in three years will do that to a person.
Bochy finished third in the vote announced Tuesday and conducted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Washington's Davey Johnson won with 131 points, ahead of the Reds' Dusty Baker with 77 and Bochy with 61. Bochy garnered four first-place votes out of the 25 ballots on which he appeared.
2012 NL MANAGER OF THE YEAR VOTING
Voting results for NL Manager of the Year, conducted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America
Bochy won the award in 1996 and '98, when he guided the San Diego Padres to NL West titles. But he has had his best results with the Giants, whom he has led to four consecutive winning seasons.
"One of the real gratifications of the 2012 championship is that Boch is finally starting to get his due," Giants president and chief executive officer Larry Baer said.
It was impossible not to notice Bochy and the Giants during the postseason. They reached the World Series by winning six consecutive elimination games -- three against Cincinnati after trailing the Reds 2-0 in the best-of-five Division Series, and three more against St. Louis in the NL Championship Series after falling behind 3-1 in the best-of-seven showdown. Then the Giants mostly avoided drama while sweeping Detroit in four games to win the Fall Classic.
Bochy, 57, distinguished himself by the conclusion of the regular season, which was when BBWAA members had to cast their ballots. He led the Giants to a 94-68 record despite enduring several personnel-related challenges. Three-time All-Star closer Brian Wilson needed Tommy John elbow surgery and missed most of the season. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval twice went on the disabled list. And left fielder Melky Cabrera, the Most Valuable Player in the All-Star Game, received a 50-game suspension on Aug. 15 for testing positive for testosterone.
Such setbacks would have derailed many teams. But not the Giants, partly due to Bochy's leadership.
"I know how difficult it is to get here, and I couldn't be prouder of a group of guys that were not going to be denied," Bochy said after the Game 4 World Series clincher. "It's amazing what they accomplished. I think when you look at this club, the terms 'teamwork,' 'team play,' 'play as a team' -- that's used loosely, but these guys truly did. They set aside their own agenda and asked what's best for the club. And we put guys in different roles, nobody ever said a word, complained or anything, and that's the only way it got done. It shows so much character in that clubhouse, how they kept fighting and said, 'Hey, we're not going home.'"
Long known for his ability to handle a bullpen, Bochy responded to Wilson's unavailability by being flexible. Bochy initially installed Santiago Casilla as the closer. After Casilla slumped, Bochy divided the responsibility among Jeremy Affeldt, Clay Hensley, Javier Lopez and Sergio Romo, who received most of the save opportunities later in the season and in the postseason.
As a manager who uses his entire bench, Bochy was able to prompt decent production from Joaquin Arias, the primary third baseman when Sandoval was sidelined. And when the Giants lost the .346-hitting Cabrera, Bochy refused to panic. His players followed that example.
"He's laid-back, he's relaxed, he has a good time and he trusts us," shortstop Brandon Crawford said.