Washington Nationals‘ Davey Johnson and the Oakland Athletics’ Bob Melvin were named as the National League and American League Managers of the Year by the Baseball Writers Association of America on Nov. 13.
It is the second time the 51-year-old Melvin has won the award as he also captured it in 2007 as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks. He took the honors after guiding Oakland to a record of 94-68 this season after the low-budget AL club lost 88 games the previous season.
The A’s won the title in the AL West division after a late-season surge saw them overtake the Texas Rangers, who were the two-time defending champions. Oakland was 13 games behind Texas on June 30, but they went 57-26 from then on and ended the season with six consecutive wins, including three over the Rangers.
The club made the playoffs for the first time since the 2006 season even though their pitching staff featured several rookies after veteran pitchers Andrew Bailey, Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill were traded before the season.
Melvin took over the reins in Oakland part way through the season in 2011 after former manager Bob Geren left the club. He beat Buck Showalter of the Baltimore Orioles in the balloting.
Melvin was named in first place on 16 of the 28 total ballots and in second place on 12 more. He earned 116 voting points while Showalter earned 108 points with a dozen first-place and 16 second-place votes. Robin Ventura of the Chicago White Sox placed third in the voting.
Johnson took over the managerial duties with Washington halfway through the 2011 season when he took over for Jim Riggleman. He led the Nationals to the best record in the Majors this season at 98-64, which was 18 more wins than the year before.
Washington won the NL East Division championship for the club’s first ever postseason berth since the franchise made the playoffs back in 1981 when it was known as the Montreal Expos.
Johnson’s leadership abilities helped Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper win the Rookie of the Year award in the National League this season at the tender age of 19. The 69-year-old manager will remain in charge of the club in 2013 and will then move into a consulting position with the franchise.
Johnson earned 23 first-place votes out of the 32 ballots submitted for a total of 131 voting points. Dusty Baker of the Cincinnati Reds finished second in NL voting with 77 points while Bruce Bochy of the San Francisco Giants came in third place with 61 points. Bochy may not mind a third-place finish as his club won the World Series this year over the Detroit Tigers.
Johnson is also celebrating his second manager of the year award since he won it in 1997 when he was in charge of the Orioles of the AL.