As you could probably tell from the logo in the sidebar, The Brewers Bar is a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, a group of blogs that — among other things — votes on postseason awards much like the BBWAA. As a member of the Milwaukee chapter, I worked with Jim Breen of Bernie’s Crew to put together our ballots for the Connie Mack Award, the BBA’s “Manager of the Year” honor.
This is our ballot, with a bit of explanation for each vote added. The winner of the award will be released on October 14.
1. Bobby Cox, Atlanta
This is as much a sentimental pick as it is one based on merit. Often times, managers get too much credit when things work out well, but Cox was able to take a team crippled by injuries to the playoffs. Troy Glaus was only able to take 412 at-bats. Chipper Jones only took 317 at-bats. Outside of Jason Heyward, they had the lightest-hitting outfield in baseball, yet they were still able to win the wildcard. Much of this had to do with Cox’s management of the pitching staff, especially when it came to his excellent bullpen.
2. Charlie Manuel, Philadelphia
Sometimes, the best managers are the ones that sit back and don’t screw anything up. Manuel knew he had a good thing in the two-time defending National League champions, and just let them play. Philadelphia was third-to-last in the NL in sacrifices, which is absolutely the right approach to take when you have a lineup like Philadelphia’s. He managed his pitching staff well, even before the team traded for Roy Oswalt, and smartly just let Roy Halladay go when he took the mound. In a league filled with micro managers, Manuel is a breath of fresh air.
3. Bud Black, San Diego
To put it bluntly, the Padres offense stunk, which made Black’s decisions with the pitching staff all the more important. While San Diego certainly had its fair share of pitchers that outperformed expectations, Black still managed the bullpen well, which was crucial considering how many close games the Pads played. They were involved in 50 one-run games — that’s over 30% of their schedule — and went 28-22 in those contests. A few managerial slip-ups here and there, and the Padres probably don’t sniff 90 wins. Black deserves some of the credit.