- Wallace Matthews, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
NEW YORK -- Over the past 30 years, the New York Yankees have been to the World Series seven times and won it five times. They have won their division 14 times and made it to the playoffs 17 times.
And yet, in the 30-year history of the Manager of the Year Award, only two Yankee managers have won it, and one of them was a shared award between Joe Torre and Johnny Oates (1996).
This is not as egregious an oversight as, say, Edward G. Robinson never having been nominated for an Oscar despite superb performances in "Little Caesar," "Double Indemnity," "Key Largo" and "The Ten Commandments," but what do you expect from Hollywood?
And there is a certain measure of logic to it. After all, how tough can it be to manage a team with an All-Star at every position?
But that was hardly the case this season. The Yankees placed 21 players on the disabled list, including three-quarters of their starting infield for most of the season, and used a franchise-record 56 players, some of whom were Yankees for no longer than a single day. Still, the team stayed in playoff contention until the final week of the season and, had they managed to win just one more game a month over the course of the season, very well could have wound up as a wild card.
And yet, the AL Manager of the Year will be announced Tuesday night and Joe Girardi has no chance of winning. He didn't even make it into the finals. (For the record, the finalists are John Farrell, Terry Francona and Bob Melvin, and it is hard to argue against Farrell, who took the Boston Red Sox from the gutter to the World Championship in his first season.)
Still, it seems that Girardi merited more consideration than he got from the voters this season. Even if he didn't deserve to win -- he did win in 2006 for finishing six games below .500 as the rookie manager of the then-Florida Marlins -- I thought he certainly deserved to be in the final three.
After all, this is a guy who was forced to play Eduardo Nunez at shortstop in 73 games, who had to start games batting Vernon Wells at cleanup 24 times and had to use a half dozen players not named Derek Jeter at shortstop just to get through the season.
I haven't even mentioned that his "ace," CC Sabathia, was hardly that all year, that Phil Hughes was never effective all season, and that Hiroki Kuroda basically stopped pitching in August. Do you remember who the Yankees' DH was Opening Day?
Of course you don't. It was Ben Francisco.
And still, Girardi managed to coax 85 wins out of this team.
It may not have been enough to unseat Farrell, who I assume will win, but shouldn't a managing job such as that have entitled Girardi to at least place or show money? Clearly his employers thought enough of his performance to reward him with a new four-year, $16 million contract.
Every year around this time, I get bombarded with fans who perceive anti-Yankee bias in the fact that their favorite Bombers are generally snubbed during awards season. Since 1985, when Don Mattingly won it, only one Yankee has been named AL MVP -- Alex Rodriguez, twice. I can usually explain it away as the result of too many terrific players to single any one out as being more valuable than any other.
Not this year. Not a single Yankee player made it into the finals for an award, and frankly, none deserved to be.
But one Yankee surely deserved to be mentioned among the best at his position, even if that position was at the top step of the dugout. The fact that he wasn't makes you wonder why.