The Oakland A’s took home yet another award on Tuesday, as skipper Bob Melvin won AL Manager of the Year. It’s his third time being named the top manager in his league, making him the eighth three-time winner since the award began in 1983.
The A’s enjoyed a Cinderella season in 2018. After three straight last-place finishes, they entered the summer with low expectations. On top of that, they lost nearly two full rotations’ worth of starting pitchers to injuries, leaving the bullpen to carry its biggest load in franchise history. However, Melvin pushed all the right buttons throughout the campaign, leading the squad to 97 wins and a Wild Card. The 22-win improvement was the biggest in MLB this year, and the postseason berth shocked the entire baseball world.
The whole experience had tinges of deja vu for A’s fans, who enjoyed a similar ride in 2012. That year’s band of rookies and veteran castoffs appeared to have a chance for 100 losses, but instead they nabbed the division crown on the final day thanks to a 20-win improvement over the previous summer. Melvin won MOTY honors that year too, after balancing a roster of flawed players in such a way as to get the absolute most out of everyone.
Overall, this is Melvin’s third Manager of the Year award. In addition to his two in Oakland, he also earned one with the Diamondbacks in 2007. The list of other three-time winners features some impressive names, and also Buck Showalter:
- Tony La Russa
- Bobby Cox
- Lou Piniella
- Joe Maddon
- Jim Leyland
- Dusty Baker
- Buck Showalter
This time, Melvin edged out two other finalists. Runner-up was Alex Cora of the Red Sox, a rookie skipper who won 108 games and the World Series but did so with an absurdly stacked roster. In third place was Kevin Cash of the Rays, who performed a similar magic trick to Melvin’s (90 wins despite no expectations and no rotation) but didn’t quite ride it to the playoffs. Melvin got 18 of the 30 first-place votes, so this one wasn’t even close. The NL winner was Brian Snitker of the Braves.
Melvin earned 18 first-place votes to become the eighth manager to earn this award three times: pic.twitter.com/gNC2hbyT2r— Jane Lee (@JaneMLB) November 13, 2018
This award is voted on by the BBWAA and is considered the official version, but there is also another Manager of the Year award given out by Sporting News. Melvin won that too last month, just for good measure.
The day after the World Series ended, the A’s announced a long-term contract extension for Melvin. The 57-year-old is now committed through 2021, at an average salary of around $3.5 million that could rank as high as third in the sport by next winter. And he’s worth every penny.
Melvin joined the A’s midway through 2011, as the Newbob to replace Bob Geren, and his legacy continues to grow. His 634-599 record gives him a .514 winning percentage, and that win total ranks third in franchise history behind only Connie Mack (3,582) and La Russa (798). He’s reached the postseason in four of his seven seasons with the team, despite never having a single player earning more than $13 million and only a couple in eight figures at all.
For his career overall, Melvin now boasts an 1127-1107 record (.504), in 15 seasons with the Mariners, D’Backs, and A’s (13 full seasons, 2 partials). The only current managers with longer consecutive tenures atop their current clubs are Bruce Bochy (SF), Ned Yost (KC), and Clint Hurdle (PIT).
Congrats to Melvin on another well-deserved award! There is no question in the minds of Athletics Nation that he was the right pick.
Congrats BoMel 3-time Manager of the Year. pic.twitter.com/Ao8PnBkFMZ— NBCSAuthentic (@NBCSAuthentic) November 13, 2018