INDIAN WELLS, Calif. -- A's vice president and general manager Billy Beane has been named Executive of the Year in Major League Baseball for the 2012 season. It's the second time he has been given the prestigious award by the Sporting News.
The award has been handed out since 1936 and was presented here on Wednesday evening during the annual dinner among the GMs, who are gathered here this week for three days of meetings.
The voting was conducted by their peers and had to be submitted before the end of the regular season. Beane, also a minority owner of the franchise, has been Oakland's GM for 16 years. He won 31 votes to finish ahead of Mike Rizzo of the Nationals (13) and Jon Daniels (six) of the Rangers.
Beane also won the award in 1999. During his tenure, the A's have been to the American League Division Series five times, including this year's five-game loss to the Tigers, and the AL Championship Series once.
"It's always an honor to be voted on by your peers," Beane said with a laugh after the general managers emerged from an afternoon session on Thursday. "It reminds me that some of the years you're smart and some of the years you're dumb. The fact of the matter is that [this year] I've been just lukewarm."
The A's had a marvelous season catapulting into contention in the second half and winning the AL West on the final day with a come-from-behind victory over Texas in front of a raucous crowd at the O.co Coliseum. After Beane totally remade the team, it finished 94-68 following a 74-88 season in 2011. Their 72-38 record after June 1 was the best in the Major Leagues.
Beane started this past offseason by trading three of the team's top players: Starters Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill and closer Andrew Bailey. But the players he received in those deals from the D-backs, Nationals and Red Sox became the core of the club surrounding free-agent signee Yoenis Cespedes, the Cuban player, whom he signed for three years and $36 million and proved to be one of the top young talents in the Majors this past season.
Recent winners of the Sporting News award have been Dave Dombrowski of the Tigers and Doug Melvin of the Brewers -- co-winners last year -- Walt Jocketty of the Reds, who won for the third time in 2010; Dan O'Dowd of the Rockies in 2009; Andrew Friedman of the Rays, who won in '08; and Mark Shapiro of the Indians, the winner in '07 and '05. Terry Ryan of the Twins won the award in 2006.