Bob Melvin certainly wasn't the only manager worthy of winning the American League Manager of the Year award. But as the voters decided, there wasn't a more deserving candidate than the Oakland Athletics' skipper.
MLB.com had the official announcement via Twitter:
MLB (@MLB) November 13, 2012
Most pundits likely projected the Athletics to finish as a distant third in the AL West behind the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Instead, all the A's did was finish 94-68, win the division and come a game away from advancing to the American League Championship Series after nearly overcoming a 2-0 deficit to the Detroit Tigers.
And the A's pulled off the feat without a roster full of superstars. As Amanda Rykoff of ESPN notes, despite having "one of the two lowest payrolls in the majors this season and a team batting average of .238, the A's had a remarkable 15 walk-off wins."
The A's won this year with excellent pitching, timely hitting and some good managing from Mr. Melvin. He certainly deserves the acknowledgement.
Still, he had some tough competition in the American League. The Tigers were 38-40 after June and looking like a team that was going to disappoint despite making a big splash by signing Prince Fielder in the offseason.
But they recovered under the steady hand of manager Jim Leyland, going 50-34 the rest of the way and advancing to the World Series.
And how about the Baltimore Orioles? They surprised everyone by going 93-69, were dominant late in games and tortured their fans by routinely needing extra innings to win games.
Buck Showalter did wonders in Baltimore this season, and the O's improbable ride was one of the most enjoyable storylines of the season.
But for my money, Melvin's accomplishments with the A's were the most impressive. How many Athletics could you name before the season started?
Be honest. Not many, right?
Did you really think this team could compete with a Rangers team that had played in consecutive World Series, or an Angels team that added Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson in the offseason?
Be honest. You didn't give them a chance in that division, right?
Would you have ever thought a team that featured 19 rookies—including 12 on the postseason roster—would have made the postseason?
Be honest. Nobody expected that.
So kudos to Melvin, who earned this honor as a calm and measured man in the clubhouse and a smart tactician in the dugout. He was the right man for the right group of guys, and in 2012 that led to a magical season baseball fans won't soon forget.
Especially in Oakland.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets aren't afraid to get emotional after a big win.