OAKLAND, Calif. — When the Oakland Athletics turned to Bob Melvin midway through the 2011 season they were seeking managerial stability.
Melvin provided it and more with what he has done on the field and off and the respect he has gained from his players for being fair, personable and unafraid to take chances on youth.
The winningest manager in Oakland team history is staying put through at least next season after the club exercised Melvin’s contract option for 2022 on Tuesday.
“Bob brings a real human touch in a world that’s very much driven by data,” said Billy Beane, the A’s executive vice president of baseball operations. “Bob’s just kept up and he’s stayed in step.”
Melvin has guided the A’s to an 808-715 record since taking over on June 9, 2011. He recently passed Tony La Russa for most victories by an Oakland manager and last weekend became the 35th person in major league history with 1,300 managerial wins.
Melvin said he is grateful to Beane and general manager David Forst for handling the personnel matters so his job is to stay focused on the players and day-to-day game planning. In fact, Melvin’s conversations with Beane when it comes to contracts don’t even last five minutes since they’re always on the same page, with Melvin not even using an agent since joining the organization. Discussions about a new deal beyond 2022 will likely happen after this season, Beane said.
Wrapped up in the season, Melvin isn’t thinking much about the wins piling up and his place in A’s history.
“Maybe more at the end of the year – I have reflected a little bit on it, getting everything out of the way in a week here, basically,” Melvin said. “… The great thing about this job is I know where my lane is and it’s easy to stay in it and it’s easy to prepare that way.”
Melvin’s A’s teams have reached three straight playoffs, winning the AL West during last year’s shortened 60-game season following consecutive wild-card finishes. In 2020, Oakland beat the White Sox in the wild-card round to stop a nine-game losing streak in winner-take-all postseason games, a major league record that dated to the 1973 World Series, before losing to the rival Astros in a four-game AL division series.
The A’s had lost six straight playoff series since sweeping Minnesota in the 2006 Division Series.
The 59-year-old Melvin, a Manager of the Year in both leagues, previously led the Mariners and Diamondbacks then took over guiding the A’s during the 2011 season following the firing of Bob Geren.
In 2012, Oakland became the first team in major league history to win a division or pennant after trailing by five games with fewer than 10 to play, sweeping three games against Texas to win the division over the Rangers.
The A’s have repeatedly expressed their commitment to having the Bay Area native and former catcher as their on-field leader, and he has handled the challenge of an ever-changing young team and a rash of injuries during his tenure to continue winning with a low-budget franchise.
“Quite frankly he’s got a legacy here,” Beane said. “It’s one thing to come work and be successful for a few years but to create the legacy Bob has is a credit to him and I guess David and I and the rest of the staff will take credit for identifying him.”