OAKLAND -- A's skipper Bob Melvin was named American League Manager of the Year on Tuesday, taking home the distinguished Baseball Writers' Association of America Award for the third time in his celebrated managerial career.Only seven other managers have claimed it as many times since its inception in 1983: Dusty
OAKLAND -- A's skipper Bob Melvin was named American League Manager of the Year on Tuesday, taking home the distinguished Baseball Writers' Association of America Award for the third time in his celebrated managerial career.
Only seven other managers have claimed it as many times since its inception in 1983: Dusty Baker, Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa, Jim Leyland, Joe Maddon, Lou Piniella and Buck Showalter. Elite company, unquestionably.
:: AL Manager of the Year voting totals ::
Melvin, who was also named Manager of the Year in 2012 (Oakland) and '07 (Arizona), earned 18 of 30 first-place votes to best Alex Cora of the 108-win Red Sox by a wide margin. Tampa Bay's Kevin Cash, who, like Melvin, did more with less, came in third.
The Rays' surprise success was worthy of unrelenting praise, and Cora's work with the Red Sox in his first managerial stint was remarkable, but Melvin separated himself from the pack by steering his squad to 97 wins -- marking a 22-game improvement -- and a postseason berth, refusing to succumb to a stream of excuses.
The A's entered the season with baseball's lowest payroll and continuously overcame a heap of adversity under Melvin's guidance; there was the rash of rotation injuries that led to the use of a franchise-record 15 starters, a bullpen with multiple moving parts and a mostly inexperienced lineup. He worked wonders and got the most out of them all, each showing faith in his decision-making throughout.
"I think Bob's leadership was perfect for this team," A's general manager David Forst said. "With everything that we went through from a roster standpoint, with guys getting hurt and guys moving around, I think his leadership and just not looking back, not worrying about who we've lost and who wasn't here but focusing on the guys that were here and really just moving forward every single day. I can't say enough about how important his leadership was for this particular group and the team that won 97 games."
"This was a group effort this year, probably more so than I've ever been a part of," Melvin said. "To accomplish what we did takes a lot of buy-in, and we had a really cool bond this year, a trust, and it allowed us to accomplish what we did this year against all odds."
The A's were two games under .500 and 11 games out of a Wild Card spot at the conclusion of play on June 15, taking off thereafter to the tune of a 63-29 record to earn a place in the one-game playoff. Oakland fell to the Yankees, but the loss could hardly take away from an otherwise extraordinary campaign.
Soon after, the A's awarded Melvin with a contract extension that will keep him in Oakland through at least 2021.
"I just think the personality of this team stood out, and I think Bob's track record of really getting the most out of guys, putting his players in position to succeed, hopefully that's what stood out," Forst said.
Melvin and La Russa (1988, '92) are the only A's managers bestowed with Manager of the Year honors.
"I don't know that there's been a more difficult task than we gave him this year," Forst said. "Everything has been recounted about the starting rotation and all these guys coming in to contribute. That's what you ask the manager to do, to take the 25 guys you give him and somehow create a winner, and that's exactly what he did this season."
Said Melvin: "I think at the beginning we were a little bit taken aback by the fact we lost so many guys early on, but I think after that it was more kind of a badge of honor that someone goes down and we have to continue to have expectations to win and know that we have depth in our organization and it's next man up."
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.