12/04/12 3:00 PM ET
The Buck stops here: Showalter, O's nab GIBBYs
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
The trophies, which are officially called the Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards, were announced Tuesday afternoon at the Winter Meetings in Nashville.
Major League Baseball's A-listers won 2012 GIBBYs trophies -- the ultimate honors of baseball's awards season -- based on votes by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, fans at MLB.com and the Society for American Baseball Research.
Showalter was named runner-up for this year's American League Manager of the Year Award, as voted on by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, with A's skipper Bob Melvin edging him out in a closely contested race. Coming up just short was foreign territory for Showalter, who masterfully used his bullpen to help the Orioles go 29-9 in one-run games. The O's were 25-14 in two-run games and 16-2 in extra-inning contests, winning their final 16 extra-innings games in the regular season en route to a 93-69 record and an AL Wild Card berth.
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 club. Famous for his no-nonsense approach, Showalter -- at his fourth managerial stop -- has softened some in Baltimore, allowing table tennis in the clubhouse and taking part in good-natured ribbing and practical jokes, a balance that struck a chord with players.
"Buck is an organizational guy. You know he has pull, you know he's going to voice his opinion. His opinion is stern, and he's respected around this game and in the clubhouse," Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said of Showalter, who led the team to a 24-game improvement in his second season. "But he let us play for ourselves. He let us govern ourselves. He told us the first day of Spring Training, he walked in and said, 'You make your own rules,' and walked out.
"The team meeting lasted like five minutes because we said, 'Look, let's police ourselves.' He put it in our hands."
And the Orioles ran with it, ending a stretch of 14 consecutive losing seasons that resulted in the organization's first playoff game since 1997. The O's lost in the AL Division Series to the Yankees and are 196-185 in regular-season games under Showalter.
This year's GIBBY Awards featured nominees in 21 categories. Individual honors went to the MLB MVP, in addition to the year's best starting pitcher, hitter, closer, setup man, rookie, breakout hitter, breakout pitcher, comeback player, defensive player, executive and postseason performer.
GIBBY trophies were also awarded for the year's top play, hitting performance, pitching performance, oddity, walk-off, Cut4 topic and postseason moment, from MLB.com's Must C highlight reels.
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.