Francona named AL Manager of the Year
Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona has been selected as the American League Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writers Association. He edged Boston's John Farrell and Oakland’s Bob Melvin who were also finalists for the award.
The 2013 season was Francona's first as manager of the Indians and led them to a 92-70 (.568) record and a berth in the American League Wild Card game. The Indians became the first Major League team since 1971 to end the season with a 10-game winning streak. The 24-win improvement over 2012 (68-94) matched the largest year-to-year win improvement in the history of the franchise, joining the 1986 Indians. 2013 marked the sixth time Francona has led a club to the postseason and the ninth straight season in which a Francona-managed team has won at least 86 games, the sixth-longest such streak in MLB history.
Even with two World Series wins and lots of success in Boston, he never won AL Manager of the Year. This award marks the first time he has won the award in his 13-year Major League managerial career and marks just the second time an Indians Manager has been selected, joining Eric Wedge who won the award in 2007. The BBWAA began voting on the Manager of the Year Award in 1983.
Francona never received a first place vote as a manager of the Red Sox, but received 16 of 30 first place votes in this year's vote. Farrell received 12 and Melvin received the other two.
This was a well deserved award considering the impact Francona had on the Indians, not just from a wins standpoint and making the playoffs, but the significant change he brought to the organizational culture. That's the separator between him and Farrell as while Farrell won the World Series and the Red Sox rebounded from a disastrous 2012 season, most of that team was the same one that won 90 games under Francona in 2011. Meanwhile, Francona got to work with Indians GM Chris Antonetti and was the driving force to their organizational change in philosophy, personnel and ultimately being the glue to a 92-win season.
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Give credit where credit is due, Francona had a much tighter margin for error considering... the Tribe had no 15 game winners, no 30 hr hitters, no one with 30 saves and no one with 100 rbi's. It was entirely a team effort, and a solid job managing the club by Francona.
I think it was the right decision not just because I'm a Tribe fan, but because he brought an IMMEDIATE culture change to the team and the city and backed it up by guiding his new club from 94 losses to 92 wins and a playoff berth in one season.
And this is just the beginning...