ORLANDO -- The perks of being named the Sporting News Major League Executive of the Year were not something Ben Cherington could readily explain Monday night.
Trophy? Plaque? Stipend? Dunkin' Donuts card?
“I didn’t get anything,’’ said the Red Sox GM, who walked out of the dinner of his peers in which his selection was announced unencumbered by any hardware. “They said something would come in the mail. I don’t have anything to show you.’’
Cherington said the award was “definitely unexpected,’’ even though if Vegas oddsmakers set lines on such matters, Cherington would have been a heavy favorite, having guided the Red Sox from worst to first in the span of one year. Perhaps the fact that predecessors Theo Epstein and Dan Duquette never were honored in similar fashion accounted for his element of apparent surprise.
Cherington, 39, became just the third Sox executive to win the award, joining owner Tom Yawkey (1946) and two-time winner Dick O’Connell (1967 and 1975). In voting conducted among a panel of 31 executives held before the start of the postseason, Cherington received 15 votes, six more than runner-up Neal Huntington of the Pirates, who like Cherington is a native of New Hampshire and Amherst College alum, Cherington from Meriden, Huntington from Amherst, N.H.
Royals GM Dayton Moore received four votes, Braves GM Frank Wren three.
“I was telling people in the room, obviously I consider this an award for the organization, not for me,’’ Cherington said. “Coming off the year we had in 2012, I see it usually as an award that goes to an organization over a period of time, not necessarily one year, so it’s a great honor for the organization.
“It speaks to the hard work a lot of people have done. It’s about our ownership and the people who work for me, and John Farrell and his staff, and the players -- the same themes we talked about after the World Series. I guess this is just another symbol of a good year and a lot of good work by a lot of different people.’’
There figure to be more honors ahead for the Red Sox. On Tuesday, the Baseball Writers Association of America will announce the winner of the Manager of the Year award in both leagues. Sox manager John Farrell is a favorite to win the AL award.