Who was the best manager in baseball in 2012? I’m going with Bob Melvin of the Oakland Athletics.
My criteria are twofold: I go with the skipper whose team is a winner and whose team achieved its success in disproportion to its expectations and talent.
By those standards, Melvin is a slam dunk (and I apologize for using a basketball term).
Think about it. Did anyone seriously believe as the season started that the Oakland Athletics could make a serious run at the America League West title given the powerhouse teams assembled by the defending champs in Texas and the Pujols-improved Angels?
Did anyone seriously think after the first two months of the season that the A’s could turn it around and contend for the division title?
Did anyone seriously think with about a month to go that Oakland — improbably staying afloat in the wild card race — would be able to overtake the Rangers and emerge as division champions?
No siree, Bob.
So here’s my ballot for the BBA Connie Mack Award:
1. Bob Melvin, Oakland
2. Buck Showalter, Baltimore (You can make a case for him as No 1, certainly, but I give Melvin the edge for overcoming even lower expectations than the birds had)
3. Bruce Bochy, San Francisco (I know, I know. I’m a Giants fan. But look how the Giants responded when Melky Cabrera went away for steroids and the Dodgers spent their way to a title except they ended up eating the G-men’s dust.)
Honorable mention: Joe Girardi, who probably was a contender for the Nobel Prize in medicine this year, given all the Yankees’ injuries; Davey Johnson, because he brought the Nationals to the playoffs and the best record in the NL.