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Bochy's consistency may be taken for granted

Steady skipper in great company with third-place finish for MOY
MLB.com

Bruce Bochy was the National League's Manager of the Year. Well, he should have been after he continued as a miracle worker for the Giants. And I know, Matt Williams had a splendid 2014 despite joining the Nationals this season without managerial experience at any level of professional baseball.

There also were all of those injuries for the Nationals, ranging from Denard Span's back to Doug Fister's side to Bryce Harper's hand to Adam LaRoche's quad to Ryan Zimmerman's everything.

Bruce Bochy was the National League's Manager of the Year. Well, he should have been after he continued as a miracle worker for the Giants. And I know, Matt Williams had a splendid 2014 despite joining the Nationals this season without managerial experience at any level of professional baseball.

There also were all of those injuries for the Nationals, ranging from Denard Span's back to Doug Fister's side to Bryce Harper's hand to Adam LaRoche's quad to Ryan Zimmerman's everything.

If that wasn't enough, Williams spent the summer juggling his lineup to accommodate nine everyday players for eight spots.

The clubhouse didn't explode.

Not only that, this former slugging third baseman owned a light resume that featured just four years of even coaching in the Major Leagues and he was replacing an accomplished manager. His predecessor, Davey Johnson, had taken the Nationals and three other teams to the playoffs during his 17 years as a manager. That stretch included a World Series championship and 1,372 victories during regular-season play.

No worries. With Williams calmly leading the way, the Nationals won more games than anybody in the National League at 96. They also captured their division by 17 games, the biggest margin in baseball. So Williams was the overwhelming choice of those casting ballots for the Baseball Writers Association of America. He received 18 first-place votes. The Pirates' Clint Hurdle followed, with eight votes, and then came Bochy with three votes.

None of this is surprising. Bochy is guilty of being Bochy, which means he is stigmatized by something common in sports called "Taking for granted the highly successful coach or manager." This is especially true for those who are consistently better than good, and Bochy is the epitome of it all.

Yes, I'm aware the voting for Manager of the Year for both leagues ends before the end of the regular season. Even so, you can't ignore the fact that the Giants just grabbed a World Series championship for the third time in five seasons, and the manager throughout was... yep, that guy.

Video: Bochy won't forget the memory of the parade

I'm talking about the guy who has led the Giants to unprecedented heights for the franchise for most of the past eight years. He also spent a dozen seasons making the previously feeble Padres competitive, on the way to becoming their all-time winningest manager. Between the two franchises, Bochy has won more than 50 percent of his regular-season games and nearly 60 percent of his postseason games, which have included three World Series titles and four pennants, including one with the Padres. He rarely has managed a team with overwhelming talent, but he usually has produced extraordinary results, and this year was no exception.

Despite a lot of things (starting with a mostly light-hitting bunch that saw the star-studded Dodgers zoom past them in the NL West standings with a payroll that was $91 million richer), the Giants made the playoffs as a Wild Card.

You know the rest.

Which brings me to a trivia question: Given everything I just typed, how many times has Bochy won a Manager of the Year award? Once. That was in 1996 after he took the Padres from 70 victories during his first year with the team to 91 victories and an NL West title the next. Two seasons after that, he led the Padres to the World Series for only the second time in franchise history. He finished second that year in NL Manager of the Year voting behind the Astros' Larry Dierker, whose team (ahem) didn't reach the World Series.

Go figure. Take Sparky Anderson, for instance. During his nine years managing the Big Red Machine, he took those powerful Reds teams to five division titles, four NL pennants and two World Series championships. He won the NL Manager of the Year award zero times during that stretch. He later grabbed AL Manager of the Year honors twice with lesser Tigers teams, but you get the point (see what I wrote earlier about folks taking such guys for granted).

Elsewhere, Buck Showalter just snatched his third Manager of the Year award, and he did so this week with the Orioles. The other such winners in franchise history were Frank Robinson and the aforementioned Johnson.

What? No Earl Weaver? Like Anderson, he is in the Baseball Hall of Fame, and like Anderson, he managed one of the game's most famous group of players. Courtesy of the two Robinsons (Frank and Brooks), Jim Palmer and Boog Powell, Weaver won nearly 60 percent of the time during his 17 years with Orioles teams that grabbed four pennants and a World Series.

Weaver never won a Manager of the Year award.

This isn't just a baseball thing. Red Auerbach took the Boston Celtics to nine NBA championships, but he was named the league's Coach of the Year once, and that was the season before he retired on the sidelines. Translated: It was more of a going-away present. Vince Lombardi was the NFL's Auerbach by leading the loaded Green Bay Packers to five NFL titles and the first two Super Bowl championships. He also was named NFL Coach of the Year once, and that was in 1959, when the Packers finished 7-5.

In recent years, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has five NBA championships, including one from last season. He took NBA Coach of the Year honors after just two of those seasons. Bill Belichick has three Super Bowl rings, and he has three NFL Coach of the Year awards on his resume, but only one came after one of his Super Bowl championship seasons.

The point is, Bochy is in good company.

No, great company.

Terence Moore is a columnist for MLB.com.

San Francisco Giants