When it comes to skippers, several stood out in the 2013 season.
Below are the three finalists for each league’s respective Manager of the Year award and why they deserve the honor, which will be announced Tuesday night.
John Farrell, Boston Red Sox
Farrell not only led the Sox to a World Series title, he steered a turnaround from last place to first in the AL East. One year after Boston struggled through a 69-93 campaign with Bobby Valentine at the helm, Farrell stepped in and led the club to a 97-65 mark, which tied the St. Louis Cardinals for the best record in the majors. Farrell had coached the Red Sox pitchers from 2007-10, before leaving for a two-year stint as Toronto skipper before his return to Boston this season.
Terry Francona, Cleveland Indians
The Indians went 21-6 in September to catapult into one of the two AL wild-card spots before losing to the Tampa Bay Rays in the one-game playoff. It was Cleveland’s first postseason appearance since 2007 as Francona, in his first year with the club, led the Indians to a 92-70 regular-season finish — 24 games better than the year before when they went 68-94 in Manny Acta’s final campaign.
Bob Melvin, Oakland A’s
The 2012 AL Manager of the Year led the A’s to a second consecutive AL West Division title. Oakland won two more games than it did the year before, going 96-66 before falling to the Detroit Tigers three games to two in the 2013 ALDS. Melvin, who took over for Bob Geren in the middle 2011, is 237-186 in 2½ years with the A’s.
FOXSports.com winner: Farrell
Turning a last-place team into World Series champs gives Farrell the edge over Francona and Melvin.
Fredi Gonzalez, Atlanta Braves
The Braves opened the season 12-1 and never looked back, winning the NL East with a 96-66 record. More impressive is that Gonzalez’s club, which sat in first place all but one day, did so without an MVP or Cy Young candidate and battled several key injuries throughout the season. It marked Atlanta’s first division crown since 2005.
Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh Pirates
"Raise the Jolly Roger" was a common saying for the Bucs this season as they clinched the No. 1 NL wild-card berth and made the postseason for the first time since 1992. It was also the Pirates’ first winning season since ’92. Hurdle’s club beat the Cincinnati Reds in the one-game playoff before falling to the St. Louis Cardinals three games to two in the NLDS.
Don Mattingly, Los Angeles Dodgers
With his club in last place in mid-May, Donnie Baseball was on the hot seat and rumors were rampant that he wouldn’t make it to the All-Star break. But talk about a hot streak. The Dodgers tied a modern-day 50-game record by going 42-8 from June 22 to Aug. 17 to build a commanding lead and run away with the NL West title.
FOXSports.com winner: Hurdle
First playoff appearance since and first winning record since ’92 clinches this for the Bucs skipper.