By Matt Snyder
November 8, 2012 1:01 pm ET
Though the Baseball Writers Association of America awards will be announced next week, the Sporting News names Major League Baseball’s executive of the year, and the outlet has announced the winner for 2012 is Billy Beane of the Oakland Athletics.
Beane won in a bit of a landslide, gathering 31 votes while Nationals GM Mike Rizzo received 13 and Rangers GM Jon Daniels got six. The Sporting News has presented this award since 1936. It’s the first time that Beane has won it.
After a 74-88 season in 2011, Beane embarked on what appeared a rebuilding project, trading starting pitchers Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez and closer Andrew Bailey. The A’s began the season without starting pitchers Brett Anderson and Dallas Braden (who would not return all year).
Later in the offseason, Beane signed Cuban sensation Yoenis Cespedes, but the A’s still entered the season with modest expectations.
With a rag-tag bunch and constantly shuffling players in and out throughout most of the season, the A’s caught fire after two months and never let up. They went 72-38 after June 1. They became the fifth team in MLB history to win a division (or pennant in pre-division days) after trailing by 13 or more games at one point. They also became the first team ever to finish first after trailing by five games with fewer than 10 games remaining in the season.
So, yes, this was a much-deserved honor for Beane.