The Boston Red Sox had an incredible year and, as everyone knows at this point, won the World Series. They had an extremely successful year despite the fact that they didn’t have a player who could really be put into the conversation as a clear-cut Cy Young award winner or Most Valuable Player. That showed what a team effort this season was for Boston. One award that did seem to be heading for an individual from Boston was the AL Manager of the Year. Only that didn’t happen.
Terry Francona of the Cleveland Indians was named Manager of the Year, and this is meant as no knock against him. Nothing at all was expected from the Indians who hadn’t been relevant in a few years. Francona took a young group and not only had them in the pennant race the entire season, but they won one of the wild-card spots. It was great to see Francona back in a dugout and really enjoying himself.
But how can you deny the job that Farrell did? Here is a team that was a walking disaster area last year. Not only did they not play well, but they finished in last place in their division and managed to turn away a huge, loyal fan base. Farrell helped turn the culture of the clubhouse around in one year. He gained respect of all his players and made a team that had become a laughingstock the best team in baseball.
How many teams can you recall that have gone from last place to first in just one year? I can instantly think of two teams although I am sure there are more. The Atlanta Braves and Minnesota Twins in 1991 both finished first and competed against each other in the World Series after finishing dead last the year before. Bobby Cox of the Braves and Tom Kelly of the Twins won Manager of the Year in their respective leagues for the jobs they did.
Farrell did the same job and he didn’t even end up on some writers’ ballots. It seems like this is more of an issue against Boston because Francona never won when he was with the Red Sox. The Red Sox are a big market team and they usually have a lot of high expectations, so no matter what Boston can’t be a surprise or the scrappy underdogs.
Boston has had three World Championships in ten years, but it may be a very, very long time before you see any manager in a Boston uniform win Manager of the Year.