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Terry Francona tips John Farrell as top manager

Terry Francona made Cleveland happy by reaching the playoffs, but you could argue for John Farrell, whose Red Sox tied for the best record in baseball.

AP (left); Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Terry Francona made Cleveland happy by reaching the playoffs, but you could argue for John Farrell, whose Red Sox tied for the best record in baseball.

ORLANDO — The Red Sox finally lost one on Tuesday when John Farrell finished a surprising second in the American League Manager of Year voting to Terry Francona of the Indians.

Bob Melvin of Oakland was third. In all, nine managers received votes.

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Francona received 16 of 30 first-place votes and finished with 112 points. Farrell received 12 first-place votes and had 96 points.

For Francona, it was his first Manager of the Year award and the first time he has ever received first-place votes despite leading the Red Sox to World Series titles in 2004 and 2007.

Thirty members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, two representing each city in the American League, do the voting. The vote is conducted before the start of the playoffs.

Even without the World Series title to consider, Farrell had a good case. He led the Red Sox to a 97-65 record and their first American League East championship since 2007. The Red Sox were 69-93 in 2012, finishing in last place under Bobby Valentine.

Farrell also dealt with a series of challenges, particularly the loss of closers Joel Hanrahan and Andrew Bailey to season-ending injuries in the first half of the season. The Sox also lost No. 2 starter Clay Buchholz for three months with a shoulder injury.

“Humbled to be included as candidate for manager of the year. Honored to represent the Red Sox, but we are most proud to be world champions,” Farrell said in a text message.

Francona, fired by the Red Sox following the collapse of the 2011 team, joined the Indians last fall. He guided Cleveland to a 92-70 record, a 24-game improvement over 2012. The Indians finished a game behind Detroit in the Central Division but qualified for a wild-card berth by winning their final 10 games.

Francona and Farrell are longtime friends. They were teammates with the Indians in 1988 and worked together with the Red Sox from 2007-10 when Farrell was pitching coach. Francona enthusiastically recommended the Red Sox hire Farrell after Valentine was fired.

Then they found themselves in the position of competing for the same award.

“You know what? It’s hard to look at it. I actually didn’t,” Francona said. “I called John [Tuesday] morning. I thought it was kind of funny me and him were finalists for an award. If you would have told me back in 1988 when we were playing in Cleveland that we’d be up for this award, both of us would have laughed each other out of the room.

“I didn’t view it as against Bob or against John. When an organization does good things, these type of things happen. What it does is it gives me the platform to brag about it a little bit. I’m pleased about that. Our organizations did some really good things. John, they did the ultimate good thing and I have a feeling he wouldn’t trade what they did for this any day of the week. Before the Red Sox had 97 wins, I knew John was good.”

There were some unusual ballots. Asuka Iinuma Brown of the Jiji Press, who covers Seattle, did not vote for Francona or Farrell. She voted for Melvin, Joe Maddon of the Tampa Bay Rays, and Buck Showalter of the Baltimore Orioles.

It was the only vote that went to Showalter. The Orioles were 85-77 after finishing 93-69 in 2012.

Christina Kahrl of ESPN.com, who represented Chicago, did not vote for Farrell. Francona did not receive a vote from George King of the New York Post.

None of those votes determined the outcome of the election given the 16-point spread.

The Red Sox have not had a manager of the year choice since Jimy Williams in 1999.

The Sporting News named Red Sox GM Ben Cherington its Executive of the Year Monday. Oakland GM Billy Beane was the Executive of the Year in 2012 and Melvin was the Manager of the Year.

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com.
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