In his second full season, Showalter guided an Orioles club to its first season above .500 since 1997, as the O's advanced to the American League Division Series. Signed through 2013, although a contract extension is heavily rumored to be in the works, Showalter took home Manager of the Year honors in this year's GIBBYs (Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards) and was named runner-up to Oakland's Bob Melvin in the Baseball Writers' Association of America AL Manager of the Year Award.
Coming up short was foreign territory for Showalter, who maneuvered a phenomenal bullpen to help the Orioles go 29-9 in one-run games and 25-14 in two-run games. The O's were 16-2 in extra-inning contests, winning their final 16 extra-inning games in the regular season en route to a 93-69 record and an AL Wild Card game in which they beat Texas on the road.
The Orioles used 52 players on the Major League club -- as Showalter and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette left no stone unturned in improving the team -- and, in turn, assembled a "sum of their parts" team that embodied its manager. Showalter, who earned his 1,000th career managerial win during the '12 campaign, preached accountability and effort, and the team of underdogs captivated the long-suffering baseball fans in Baltimore.
The "Marylander of the Year" award was decided on by the newspaper's publisher and the Sun's editorial board, with the public encouraged to vote online in December for five finalists in an effort to sway the final choice.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less