Orioles manager Buck Showalter still feels twinges of anger and disappointment when reflecting back on the four-game sweep in the American League Championship Series, on how his season came to a screeching halt with more baseball left to play.
Awards don’t heal the wounds, but they bring recognition so richly deserved after a 96-win season and the organization’s first division title in 17 years.
Showalter has been named American League Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. He finished ahead of finalists Mike Scioscia and Ned Yost, with confirmation coming tonight on MLB Network.
Showalter received 25 of the 30 first place votes. Scioscia received four and the Mariners’ Lloyd McClendon received one.
Showalter also received three second-place votes and one third-place vote.
The 10-year pattern lives. Showalter also won the award in 1994 with the Yankees and 2004 with the Rangers.
“It’s such a great reflection on our organization, our ownership that has been so rock solid,” Showalter said on MLB Network.
Showalter joins Tony La Russa as the only managers to be honored with three different teams. He joins LaRussa (four), Bobby Cox (four), Dusty Baker (three), Jim Leyland (three) and Lou Piniella (three) as the only managers to win it at least three times.
“Buck deserves it,” said shortstop J.J. Hardy. “From a player’s perspective, he’s respected by everyone in the clubhouse. Everybody can trust every move he makes and not second-guess it. He has a way of getting the best out of each and every one of us.”
The BBWAA Manager of the Year Award has existed since 1983. Frank Robinson won it with the Orioles in 1989 and Davey Johnson won it in 1997.
Showalter has now become the third Orioles manager to be honored.
“Congratulations to him,” said closer Zach Britton. “It’s not surprising to me. Buck is a great manager to play for. He trusts and believes in his players. He’s able to get the most out of all his players. Not only the players at the big league level, but also guys that come up to fill a need throughout the season, which was a big reason why we accomplished so much this year.”
Showalter became the 37th manager in baseball history to reach 1,250 wins when the Orioles won the opener of their doubleheader against the Yankees on Sept. 12. The division-clinching win over the Blue Jays on Sept 16 was the 1,254th victory of his career, moving him past Billy Martin into 36th place on the all-time list.
Center fielder Adam Jones was asked about Showalter during Saturday’s dedication ceremony at the Westport Boys and Girls Club.
“His success, it’s obviously on the field, it’s what we do, but the manager obviously prepares us,” Jones said. “The way he carries us is the way we go about our business. We present ourselves as a prepared team and we lead off our leader.”
Showalter was runner-up to the Athletics’ Bob Melvin in 2012 after guiding the Orioles to their first winning record and playoff berth in 15 seasons. They improved by 24 victories over the previous year.
For whatever reason, Showalter was denied the NL award in 1999 despite leading the Diamondbacks to 100 wins and the NL West title, an improvement of 35 victories over the previous season that ranks as the most in major league history.
The Nationals’ Matt Williams, named NL Manager of the Year tonight, played for Showalter in Arizona and referred to him in an MLB Network interview as “the most prepared I’ve ever been around.”
The Orioles hired Showalter on July 29, 2010, making him the 19th manager in franchise history.