It's always seemed to me that the Orioles have produced more than their fair share of managers. The best manager to have spent some of his playing years in the orange and black is undoubtedly Davey Johnson, who returned to lead the Birds to back-to-back playoff appearances in 1996 and 1997. The best Orioles player to become a skipper was Frank Robinson, who made history as the first black manager in both leagues (Cleveland, 1975 and San Francisco, 1981). There was Johnny Oates, who presided over some competitive O's teams in the early Nineties before leading Texas to their only prolonged period of success later that decade. Some managers that you'd never expect played for the Orioles, however briefly; Lou Piniella made his major league debut in Baltimore in 1964 (0-1 with three pinch running appearances).
Today's card features a man who is the reigning National League Manager of the Year and has guided the exciting young Arizona Diamondbacks to a 10-4 start in 2008. They're currently tied for the best record in the major leagues, and look poised to return to the NLCS (and maybe go a little farther) this year. Bob Melvin has always been one of those players and managers that I assumed was a nice guy, just because he looks placid and pleasant. I'm not sure if that's true or not, but I can tell you that he was a solid defensive catcher during his three years in Baltimore, committing just five errors total and throwing out 29% of would-be base stealers.
Melvin also proved the old adage that "good things come to those who wait". As of August 27, 1989, he was the only Oriole who had been with the team all season who had not hit a home run. That day he almost single-handedly beat the Yankees, swatting a three-run home run in his first at-bat and later hitting his first (and only) triple of the season to drive in another run. The Birds won 8-5, and Bob fell a double short of hitting for the cycle.
Bob Melvin's patient nature has served him well as a manager. He took over a Diamondbacks team that had lost a staggering 111 games in 2004 and piloted them to a 26-game improvement in 2005. Though Arizona saw no further improvement the following season, he stayed the course with a lineup full of players in their early-to-mid twenties and the present - and the future - look bright in the desert.