When the Red Sox made the franchise-changing trade with the Dodgers in August 2012, principal owner John Henry believed the organization was back on course to win another championship.
He did not expect it to come only 14 months later.
“I think this is early,” Henry said Wednesday night after the Red Sox beat the Cardinals, 6-1, for their third World Series title in 10 years. “This is a little early.”
That’s what made the third championship in Henry’s 12 seasons as owner so fulfilling. Henry took in the scene on the field after the game and granted numerous interviews after accepting the Commissioner’s Trophy from Bud Selig.
“Any time you win a World Series, there’s tremendous satisfaction because so much goes into it and so many people work so hard,” Henry said, citing scouts, trainers, and other behind-the-scenes people. “Our coaching staff is the best in baseball. It’s tremendously satisfying. There are so many people working so hard every day to make this happen. It’s so hard to beat out 29 other teams.”
Henry, chairman Tom Werner, and team president Larry Lucchino have been together since 2002.
“What’s been a constant is having a group of people who are committed every day,” Henry said.
Henry said this particular Red Sox team won him over as the season went on.
“You had more and more feeling that this was a special team. They had a special approach and they just found ways to win,” he said. “At some point you begin to think there’s something special happening here. I don’t remember thinking it was going to end this way until we won 97 games. By that time we knew our pitching staff was a lot stronger than people realized.”
Going from last place to a championship also marked this team as unique.
“These guys wanted to win so bad. I know everyone, or just about everyone, predicted us to finish last. But we knew this was a good club and that last year a lot of things went wrong that really shouldn’t have gone wrong,” Henry said. “But we thought it was going to be a five-team race. I don’t think we thought we could pull away, which we did.”
Henry was impressed with the way the Red Sox kept playing well through August and September.
“It’s a tough schedule and we seemed to get stronger. I think that’s because the will of this club was so strong. They just willed themselves forward. They didn’t appear at all tired in October yet they were really tiring toward the finish line. It’s a testament to will.
Asked how much of that will came from manager John Farrell, Henry smiled.
“A lot of it,” he said.
Henry, who recently completed his purchase of the Globe, posted photos from BostonGlobe.com on his Twitter account Thursday.
Free to go
The end of the World Series meant that 147 players across baseball became free agents. That included Stephen Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, Joel Hanrahan, John McDonald, Mike Napoli, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Those players cannot negotiate with other teams until 12:01 a.m. Tuesday.
The Red Sox have until Monday at 5 p.m. to decide whether to make any of those players a qualifying offer of one year and $14.1 million. That would guarantee the Red Sox draft pick compensation if the player signs with another team.
Players have a week to either accept or decline the offer.
The Sox are sure to make a qualifying offers to Ellsbury and Napoli, and likely to Drew.
For Saltalamacchia, who made $4.5 million this season, a qualifying offer might be too much of an overpay, especially given that the Red Sox elected not to play him in the final three games of the postseason.
The benching has increased Saltalamacchia’s desire to explore other options and he is fielding interest from other teams.
Hanrahan and McDonald will not receive qualifying offers. Hanrahan is recovering from elbow surgery.
Henry said Wednesday that Ellsbury played the entire postseason with a worsening injury with his left hand.
Ellsbury suffered a bone bruise in early September and missed a game Sept. 3 as a result. The injury healed when Ellsbury was out from Sept. 6-24 with a broken bone in his left foot but became aggravated again when he returned to playing.
The bruise is expected to heal now that the season is over, although Ellsbury will get an MRI to check for any structural damage.
Hall comes calling
Officials from the Hall of Fame collected equipment from the Red Sox after Game 6 that will be displayed in Cooperstown starting in early December.
The items include a bat used by World Series MVP David Ortiz in Game 5, spikes worn throughout the World Series by closer Koji Uehara, the jacket worn in Game 6 by Farrell, the catcher’s mask worn by David Ross, Drew’s glove, and batting gloves used by Xander Bogaerts.
Earlier in the Series, Jonny Gomes donated the bat he used to hit the decisive home run in Game 4.
Late night with Papi
Ortiz will be on “The Late Show With David Letterman” on Monday night . . . Napoli celebrated his 32d birthday Thursday . . . Farrell on the celebration: “This is all surreal. When the fireworks went off and the place was covered in smoke, it really did feel surreal. But to share this with our fans, this was a special moment. I don’t have a lot of adjectives, but this is a hell of a night.” . . . According to Fox, 86 percent of televisions on in Boston were turned to the game when the final out was made on Wednesday. The game had a 55.3 local rating, the highest for any MLB game in any market since Boston got a 55.3 for Game 4 of the 2007 World Series. MLB reported a 20 percent increase in rating for the entire postseason from 2012.Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.