CLEVELAND -- With the unusual obstacles that had to be overcome during a shortened 2020 season, the winner of one annual award presented by the Cleveland Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America looked a little different this time around.
Every year, the Cleveland Chapter of the BBWAA awards two players for excellence both on and off the field. This time, the recipient of the Frank Gibbons-Steve Olin Good Guy Award was the Indians’ media relations department, including Kevin Dean and Mike Ramirez, both of whom ran the team's postgame Zoom calls. Back on the field, Shane Bieber took home the 2020 Bob Feller Man of the Year Award.
All teams were thrown a curveball this year when they suddenly had to shut down all Spring Training facilities and figure out a plan to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic while playing a season. The Tribe's media relations department was not only responsible for keeping tabs on the production inside the clubhouse, but also seamlessly found a way to keep the media safe at the ballpark while keeping up with interview requests. Its collective efforts were recognized.
Temporary manager Sandy Alomar Jr. also received some votes for the Good Guy Award after stepping in for Terry Francona, who was hospitalized with blood clots in the middle of the season.
Though the Good Guy Award is a little different this year, the Man of the Year was no surprise. Both Bieber and José Ramírez accumulated votes for the award, but it was Bieber and his outstanding season that prevailed. The 25-year-old dominated the regular season, earning the first MLB pitching Triple Crown (not just for his respective league) since Minnesota’s Johan Santana in 2006. Just a few weeks ago, he was named the winner of the 2020 American League Cy Young Award.
Bieber was nearly unstoppable in the AL, leading pitchers in wins (8), strikeouts (122), ERA (1.63), batting average allowed (.167), slugging percentage allowed (.265) and strikeouts per nine innings (14.2), and he was second in innings pitched (77 1/3).
Ramírez’s efforts were certainly not overlooked, as he was the runner-up to José Abreu of the White Sox for the AL MVP Award, but Bieber’s record-setting, impressive, Cy Young Award-winning campaign was more than enough to earn him one more award.