Melvin Deserves Manager of the Year Award

Bob Melvin has already received the Sporting News Manager of the Year Award and the C.I. Taylor Legacy Award as the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) honoree for National League Manager of the Year. The Baseball Writers Association of America should follow suit.

The Legacy Awards, established by the NLBM in 2000, annually recognizes the best major league players, managers, and executives, with awards given in the name and spirit, of Negro Leagues legends such as Oscar Charleston, Josh Gibson, and Cool Papa Bell.

The Sporting News Awards, while a pioneer for many of Major League Baseball's big name awards, generally aren't recognized with the same weight as awards voted on by managers, coaches, and the BBWAA.

The BBWAA Manager of the Year Award is therefore the most prestigious of these accolades given to managers, and there is no reason that Bob Melvin of the Arizona Diamondbacks shouldn't make a clean sweep of these managerial awards.

Charlie Manuel of the Philadelphia Phillies led his team to an improbable September run in which they overtook the New York Mets, who were seven games ahead of the Phillies on September 12th. Philadelphia was widely picked to win the NL East in the beginning of the year, however, which lessens the impressiveness of the feat somewhat.

The Colorado Rockies, led by Clint Hurdle, went on an even more impressive end of the season run, winning 14 of their final 15 games, including 11 in a row, and continued that success into October with sweeps of both Manuel's Phillies and Melvin's Diamondbacks. Postseason success is not considered for the Manager of the Year Award, however, and while Colorado's late season success was impressive, the team fell short of its predicted record based on its run differential.

Bob Melvin's Arizona Diamondbacks, however, finished with the best record in the National League despite a .487 expected winning percentage. They were just the third team ever to win 90 games despite allowing more runs than they scored.

Melvin was also able to lead a young team to greatness despite injuries to most of their key veterans. Randy Johnson made only 10 starts on the year while Orlando Hudson and Chad Tracy each missed most of September with injuries.

Few people expected the Diamondbacks to finish with the best record in the National League, and anyone who did doubtless expected significant contributions from those key players. Certainly, the Diamondbacks have a strong farm system, and being able to plug Mark Reynolds, Justin Upton, and Emilio Bonifacio into the threadbare major league roster benefited Melvin. But he was also able to squeeze significant contributions out of veteran re-treads such as Augie Ojeda and Jeff Salazar.

Taking nothing away from Charlie Manuel and Clint Hurdle, Bob Melvin simply enjoyed one of the most successful managerial seasons in baseball history. If he does not come away with the BBWAA Manager of the Year Award, it would be a travesty.


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