Manager of the Year: History shows 100-plus wins doesn't guarantee it
Alex Cora led the Boston Red Sox to an MLB-best 108 wins during the 2018 season.
He then helped Boston take that success into the postseason, where they defeated the New York Yankees, Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers to win the World Series.
Cora was one of three finalists for American League Manager of the Year, which is voted on by members of the BBWAA. You'd think winning 100-plus games would've made Cora an easy pick for this award, but he finished second to Bob Melvin of the Oakland A's in voting announced Tuesday. Looking back, history suggests that 100-plus victories are not a precursor to winning the A.L .or N.L. Manager of the Year awards.
In fact, only seven managers have won the award -- the Baseball Writers Association of America version, which began in 1983 -- after a 100-win season. Let's take a look at the group:
Sparky Anderson, Detroit Tigers (AL, 1984)
Season Result: defeated San Diego Padres 4-1 in World Series
Anderson won his third and final World Series title as a manager in 1984 with the Detroit Tigers. Fueled by AL MVP Alan Trammell and a 35-5 start, the Tigers dominated baseball with a league-best 104 wins.
Tony La Russa, Oakland Athletics (AL, 1988)
Season Result: lost to Los Angeles Dodgers 4-1 in World Series
La Russa won his second of four Manager of the Year awards in 1988 when he helped lead the Athletics to a 104-58 record. The team's offense was very potent and featured home run hitters such as Mark McGwire and AL MVP Jose Canseco. Oakland swept the Red Sox in the ALCS before falling to the Dodgers in a World Series highlighted by Kirk Gibson's legendary walk-off homer in Game 1.
Joe Torre, New York Yankees (AL, 1998)
Season Result: defeated San Diego Padres 4-0 in World Series
Torre presided over one of the best teams of all-time in 1998 when the Yankees earned a then-A.L. record 114 wins and lost only one game in the playoffs en route to the first of three consecutive World Series titles. The Yankees' 125 wins over the regular season and postseason combined are the most in MLB history.
Lou Piniella, Seattle Mariners (AL, 2001)
Season Result: lost to New York Yankees 4-1 in ALCS
The Mariners won a record 116 regular-season games under Piniella in 2001. Ichiro Suzuki became the first player since the Red Sox' Fred Lynn in 1975 to win both A.L. MVP and Rookie of the Year in the same season. All of those victories didn't translate into a World Series title, though, as Seattle fell to the Yankees in a five-game ALCS.
Whitey Herzog, St. Louis Cardinals (NL, 1985)
Season Result: lost to Kansas City Royals 4-3 in World Series
The Cardinals won an MLB-best 101 games in 1985 and defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in a six-game NLCS to set up the battle of Missouri with the Royals in the World Series. A blown call at first base in Game 6 helped the Royals overcome a 3-2 series deficit to win their first World Series championship in franchise history.
Dusty Baker, San Francisco GIants (NL, 1993)
Season Result: failed to make the postseason
The Giants won 103 games but amazingly failed to earn a playoff berth because the Atlanta Braves finished ahead of them in the NL West by one game. It was the Giants' first 100-win season since 1962.
Larry Dierker, Houston Astros (NL, 1998)
Season Result: lost to San Diego Padres 3-2 in NLDS
Dierker led a high-scoring, exciting Astros team to a 102-60 record (Houston's first 100-win season) and an NL Central title. Unfortunately for the Astros, their success was short-lived. They lost to the eventual N.L. champion Padres in the NLDS despite having home-field advantage.