New York, NY - Oakland Athletics skipper Bob Melvin and the Washington Nationals' Davey Johnson have been named the 2012 Managers of the Year for the American and National League, respectively, by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Melvin garnered Manager of the Year laurels for the second time in his career after directing an unexpected turnaround out of the low-budget A's. Oakland went from an 88-loss team in 2011 to a 94-68 record this past season, while finishing out the schedule with a furious late turn to overtake two-time defending division champion Texas for the AL West title.
Oakland trailed the Rangers by 13 games on June 30, but went an MLB-best 57-26 afterward and ended the regular season with six straight wins that included a three-game sweep of Texas.
The A's secured their first playoff appearance since 2006 despite fielding a rookie-heavy rotation on an overhauled pitching staff that had three top-tier hurlers -- starters Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez and closer Andrew Bailey -- traded away prior to the start of the season.
Melvin, who took over for Bob Geren midway through the 2011 season, edged out Baltimore's Buck Showalter in the fourth-tightest race in AL history. Melvin received 16 first-place votes and was second on 12 of the 28 ballots for a total of 116 points, with Showalter claiming 12 first-place votes and 16 seconds to record 108 points.
Chicago White Sox rookie manager Robin Ventura wound up third after tabulating 12 third-place votes.
Melvin, 51, was previously tabbed as the NL's Manager of the Year while piloting the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2007.
The Nationals experienced a remarkable transformation of their own under the guidance of Johnson, who replaced Jim Riggleman near the halfway point of the 2011 campaign. Washington won an MLB-best 98 times this past season -- an 18- game improvement over the previous year -- and captured the NL East title for the franchise's first playoff berth since the Montreal Expos reached the NLCS in 1981.
Johnson had to overcome a few obstacles along the way as well, most notably the late-season unavailability of Stephen Strasburg because of an innings limit the organization imposed on the ace pitcher. Another young phenom, outfielder Bryce Harper, earned the NL's Rookie of the Year award at age 19 under Johnson's watch.
The veteran manager, who turns 70 in January and will be moving into a consultant's role with the Nationals following the 2013 season, was at the top of 23 of the 32 votes placed on the NL side and accumulated 131 total points. That was well ahead of Cincinnati's Dusty Baker, who received 77 points on five first-place votes, 14 seconds and 10 thirds.
This is the second Manager of the Year distinction earned by Johnson, having been chosen as the AL's top skipper while with Baltimore in 1997.
Bruce Bochy of the eventual World Series champion San Francisco Giants was third in the NL balloting with 61 points, grabbing four first-place votes while being named second by 10 writers and third by 11 others.