Sunday, September 28, 2014

2014 Connie Mack Awards

The Victoria HarbourCats Baseball Blog is a proud member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. As a member of the alliance, we have the honour of casting a ballot for each of the five awards given to players and managers in both the National and American Leagues. The first award for 2014 is the Connie Mack Award, presented to the top manager in each league.

National League

Clint Hurdle
In April, the Pirates rewarded manager Clint Hurdle with a three-year contract extension, a move that looks better with each passing day. Hurdle, who won the 2013 Connie Mack Award, seems destined to win it again after leading Pittsburgh to their second consecutive playoff appearance. That feat is especially impressive considering that the Pirates hadn’t made the post-season -- or even had a winning record -- since 1992. To top it all off, the Pirates had the 5th-lowest payroll in baseball this year and they still made the playoffs.

Mike Matheny is in his third year as manager of the Cardinals and he has led St. Louis to the playoffs in each of those three seasons. Even with a middle-of-the-road payroll, the Cardinals continue to be the model of consistency in the National League. Early this season the Cardinals fell behind the Brewers in the NL Central race and then lost Yadier Molina to injury for six weeks. Under Matheny’s guidance, the Cardinals weathered the storm and went on a late run to nail down the NL Central title.

Bruce Bochy is now the winningest active manager in Major League Baseball. Just recently, Bochy moved past both Tommy Lasorda and Fred Clarke into 18th spot for wins on the all-time managerial list and he’s likely heading to the Baseball Hall of Fame. All he did in 2014 was lead the Giants to the playoffs and keep them close on the heels of the powerful Dodgers -- with almost $100M less in payroll.

My National League ballot is therefore:
  1. Clint Hurdle
  2. Mike Matheny
  3. Bruce Bochy
American League

Ned Yost
The last time the Kansas City Royals made the playoffs, this classic tune by Simple Minds was near the top of the Billboard charts (that was way back in 1985). Their return to the post-season this year is even more remarkable considering the fact that the Royals finished dead last in the majors in both home runs and walks. Their current manager, Ned Yost, has been regularly vilified by bloggers and Twitter users for some of his managerial decisions, but he must have done something right to help manufacture all of the those runs. The Royals barely had half of the payroll of the mighty Tigers, but they somehow managed to finish only a game behind Detroit. That fact alone gives Ned Yost my vote for the Connie Mack Award.

Bob Melvin has been managing Oakland for three full seasons and the A’s have made the playoffs in each of those years. Coincidence? I think not. In spite of having the fourth-lowest payroll in baseball, Oakland made it into the post-season once again in 2014. They may have just squeaked in after an incredible first half, but they qualified -- and that’s all that matters.

The Baltimore Orioles have been dealt some tough cards this year, including serious injuries to Manny Machado and Matt Wieters, but Buck Showalter did a fine job of leading his squad over those hurdles to the AL East title. Considering that they are in the same division as the Yankees and Red Sox and that they have the 14th-highest payroll in baseball, winning the division was no easy feat. Hats off to Mr. Showalter and the rest of the O’s.

My American League ballot is therefore:
  1. Ned Yost
  2. Bob Melvin
  3. Buck Showalter


  1. Gus, who do you think will win the Executive of the year award? Both Tony LaRussa and Mike Matheny have been beneficiaries of the great work done by general managers Walt Jocketty (1994-2007) and John Mozeliak (2007-present). The Cardinals have one of the best minor league systems in baseball which has provided the team with a steady flow of talented players. Behind every great manager is a great organization led by the general manager.

  2. I'm not sure who will win Executive of the Year, but what I do know is that the Cardinals are a first-class organization from top to bottom. Their scouts deserve a lot of credit too... and it's worth noting that the new HarbourCats pitching coach, Alec Adame, has been an area scout for the Cardinals since 2009. He's a great addition to the HarbourCats organization.

  3. The results of the voting have been announced, with Clint Hurdle winning the NL award and Buck Showalter winning in the AL. Full details are here: