OAKLAND, Calif. -- In his first full season at the helm, the Oakland Athletics’ Bob Melvin has won the 2012 American League Manager of the Year award, the Baseball Writers Association of America announced today.
Melvin, who steered the A’s (94-68) to the AL West Division title by overtaking the two-time defending American League Champion Texas Rangers on the regular season’s final day, becomes only the second manager in Oakland history to earn the BBWAA honor and the first in 20 years. Tony LaRussa won the award in both 1988 and 1992. Melvin led the A’s to their 15th AL West title and first division flag since 2006.
The Athletics’ 94 victories represented a 20-game improvement from the previous season (74-88), the third biggest one-year turnaround in Oakland history. This marks Melvin’s second time winning the BBWAA Manager of the Year honor, having also been named the National League Manager of the Year with Arizona in 2007. He also becomes only the 14th manager in history to win the award at least twice in a career, and only the sixth manager to win the award in both leagues.
Oakland trailed Texas by five games with nine to play and became the first team in Major League history to rally from a deficit of five or more games with fewer than 10 games remaining to win a division or pennant. The A’s were also 13 games behind the Rangers on June 30, thus becoming only the fifth team in Major League annals to win a division or pennant after trailing by 13 or more games.
Under Melvin’s leadership, the A’s registered the best record (72-38) in the Majors after June 1. His 2012 club staged a Major League-leading 14 walk-off victories, including eight within a 16-game home stretch from June 21 through July 22. Yet, Oakland saved its best walk-off for last, rallying from a 3-1 deficit with three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 4 of the ALDS against Detroit to shock the Tigers and extend the series to a fifth game.
Last week, A’s General Manager Billy Beane was selected by his peers as the Sporting News Major League Baseball Executive of the Year. With today’s news, the 2012 season marks the first time that the A’s have captured both the Sporting News Executive of the Year and BBWAA American League Manager of the Year in the same year.
Melvin, a native of Palo Alto who attended both Cal and Menlo-Atherton High School, was originally named the A’s interim manager on June 9, 2011. He signed a three-year contract through the 2014 season on Sept. 21, 2011.