Call to the Pen is a member site of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. As such, we have the duty each year to cast our ballot in several postseason award categories. Similar to the BBWAA, the BBA is broken into chapters, with each chapter receiving a maximum of two votes per award. The votes will be tallied and the BBA will announce the winners via press release, and they will also be listed on the BBA homepage.
As a general baseball site, this year, CttP will cast a ballot for the Connie Mack Award, an honor bestowed upon the top manager in each league. We polled the staff here and the ballot you see after the jump is what we came up with.
3- Buck Showalter, Baltimore Orioles- While we realize that Showalter was in uniform for only the final 57 games of the season, what he did with that club was undeniable. Showalter took over the worst team in the American League and over the last two months of the year, guided his club to a better record than any team in that division. When you consider that his two predecessors, Dave Trembley and Juan Samuel, combined to post a 32-73 record before Showalter took over, his 34-23 record looks even better.
2- Ron Gardenhire, Minnesota Twins- Grady guided his Twins club to their second straight AL Central crown, and sixth in nine years. While most pundits predicted the Twins would win the Central, they did so without the services of closer Joe Nathan for the entire year, and without perennial MVP candidate Justin Morneau for the entire second half. Even as Morneau sat, the Twins lead grew and they easily outpaced the White Sox for the top spot. The Twins had a higher payroll this year than in seasons past, but they also played without two pieces, losses that would have crushed many other teams.
1- Ron Washington, Texas Rangers- Talk about pressure, Washington was squarely on the hot seat at the start of the season with his club facing high expectations and he having had admitted to a failed cocaine test. Washington’s Rangers rallied around him and took the AL West by the throat, wrapping up the division comfortably. Yes, he benefited from an aggressive GM who added pieces throughout the summer, but he also won 90 games with a club that got virtually no production from their first basemen all year long.
3- Bruce Bochy, San Francisco Giants- The Giants trailed the Padres for most of the season and Bochy’s club featured a poor offense. With the addition of some key bats, and the decision to bench veterans Edgar Renteria and Aaron Rowand, Bochy’s offense turned around in the second half and the Giants surged past the Padres to wrap up the NL West on the season’s final day. A lot of managers would have played the higher-priced guys, but Bochy went with the guys who performed instead.
2- Dusty Baker, Cincinnati Reds- The Reds hadn’t had a winning season in ten years and hadn’t made the playoff in 15 before Baker’s bunch took hold of the NL Central this year. Outperforming expectations, Baker’s Reds club relied on the best offense in the league and a pitching staff filled with quality young arms. Most feared that a mid-August sweep at the hands of the Cardinals would bury the Reds hopes, but Baker kept his team going and they breezed past St. Louis to win the division.
1- Bud Black, San Diego Padres- No, the Padres didn’t make it into the playoffs, but they could have with one more win on the season’s final day. The Padres entered the year with one of baseball’s lowest payrolls and expectations even lower. Rumors of the impeding trades of Adrian Gonzalez and Heath Bell were rampant, but all the Padres did was win early and win often. They faded in September, caught by a Giants club with the resources to add payroll, but the Padres remain the story of the 2010, and Black deserves a great deal of credit for that.