Davey Johnson, Bob Melvin Nab managers Of The Year
One was expected, while the other perhaps a slight surprise. The American and National league managers of the year were named on Tuesday and Davey Johnson of the Nationals and Bob Melvin of the Athletics received the awards as both got their teams to the playoffs.
Johnson, who recently signed a one year deal and said it would be his last year managing, beat out Dusty Baker of the Reds and Bruce Bochy of the world champion Giants to win his second manager of the year award. He won it in Baltimore in 1997 shortly after leaving that organization. Johnson also claims that next year it is World Series or bust for his ball club.
The Nationals played the final month without their ace Stephen Strasburg who was shut down by the team in September. Conjecture says the Nats would have beaten the Cardinals in the first round of the playoffs with Strasburg but that is all we have is conjecture.
Johnson had been an adviser for the Nats until Jim Riggleman decided to try and hold up the Nats for a contract extension in June of 2011. With his extend me or I quit edict the Nats didn't budge. Instead they turned to Johnson who had managed a champion with the Mets in 1986 and also did a great job of managing with the Orioles, Reds, and Dodgers.
As for Melvin he stunned some, not me, by beating out Buck Showalter of the Orioles. Both did great jobs but Melvin's task was a little harder especially after Bartolo Colon was suspended for using steroids. Melvin's rotation featured five rookies and the A's rallied from 13 games back of Texas in June. The only other Oakland manager to win the award was Tony LaRussa who won it twice with that franchise in 1988 and 1992.
Melvin received 16 first place votes. Showalter who led the Orioles to their first winning season and playoff spot since 1997 garnered the other 12 first place votes. Melvin also won the award when he managed the Arizona Diamondbacks to the playoffs in 2007.
Oakland after a sluggish start went a remarkable 72-38 from June 1 to the end of the season to close the 13 game gap. Robin Ventura whose team folded late in September and lost their season long grip on first place to the Detroit Tigers received 12 third place votes finishing a distant third to Melvin and Showalter.