Francona wins award at writers' dinner

BOSTON -- Former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona received the prestigious Judge Emil Fuchs Memorial Award on Thursday night at the 74th annual Boston Baseball Writers' dinner.

When he was introduced at the start of the night, he received a standing ovation from the hundreds in attendance at the Westin Copley Hotel. When he received the award to end the night, he was honored again with a standing ovation.

"I'm honored and humbled for multiple reasons to stand here tonight and accept this award," Francona said during his speech. "First off, I'd like to thank the Boston Baseball Writers [Association] for this award. Secondly, I'm not only honored, but I'm thrilled to be accepting this award not posthumously. When I won an award like this, I thought I'd be long gone.

He also mentioned the dinner menu.

"Got to admit, I'm slightly disappointed with the menu tonight. I thought there would be fried chicken and beer and we'd all be happy," he said.

After he was fired by the Red Sox in 2011, he worked as a baseball analyst for ESPN in 2012 before he was hired by the Cleveland Indians as their new manager. Still, Boston will always be a special place for him.

"It was an honor, an incredible honor to stand up here and represent the Red Sox as your manager. I took it very serious," he said, followed by thunderous applause. "Baseball's been in my blood since I could put on a glove, or hold a bat and I was 3 years old. That's all I ever wanted to do and I had no aspirations of doing anything else, so to spend eight wonderful years with people who care so much about their team, again was beyond special, so thank you for that.

"Through a lot of really good times, some ups and downs, more ups than downs, thankfully, I promise you I did the very best I could always do to be the best manager I could be for your team. I'm really excited for this new challenge and believe me, trust me when I tell you, you're in great hands; you have a great new manager. You're going to be just fine.

"In closing, I just want to say one more time, thank you for the privilege of sharing eight wonderful, difficult, sometimes trying, but very rewarding years of my life. Thank you very much."