Guiding the Orioles to a 24-game improvement that resulted in their first postseason appearance in 15 years, Buck Showalter was named Sporting News’ 2012 American League Manager of the Year on Wednesday.
The Orioles finished 93-69 and won the AL’s inaugural Wild Card Game over the Texas Rangers to earn a trip to the AL Division Series a year after finishing 69-93 and in last place in the AL East. Baltimore did this despite having a run differential of only +7 and boasting one starting pitcher who reached the double-digit plateau in wins.
Showalter took over as manager of the Orioles in August of 2010 and slowly began changing the culture of losing that pervaded all levels of the organization before the club shocked most pundits and fans predicting a last-place finish and 15th consecutive losing season in 2012.
Throughout the Orioles’ improbable run to the postseason, Showalter credited his players and coaching staff and did so again upon learning he had been voted as the AL winner by a panel of eight AL managers. The 56-year-old also received Sporting News AL Manager of the Year awards in 1994 and 2004.
“It’s quite an honor coming from my peers, but I view this as a team award,” Showalter said to The Sporting News. “I really do. The players, coaches and everyone involved made this possible.”
The Sporting News named former Orioles manager Davey Johnson as NL Manager of the Year after guiding the Washington Nationals to baseball’s best record at 98-64 and the NL East division title