ST. LOUIS -- Walt Jocketty, who built the St. Louis Cardinals into the surprise winner of the NL pennant, was named executive of the year Monday by The Sporting News.
Most experts picked the Cardinals to finish third in the NL Central behind the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros. Instead, St. Louis won 105 regular-season games and beat the Astros in the NL Championship Series before being swept by the Boston Red Sox in the World Series.
"No one -- I don't think even Walt and Tony La Russa -- thought the Cardinals would win 105 games this year," Sporting News editorial director John Rawlings said.
Jocketty signed free agents Jeff Suppan, Reggie Sanders, Julian Tavarez, traded for second baseman Tony Womack, and added Walker. He also signed Albert Pujols to a seven-year contract early in spring training.
Jocketty received 20 first-place votes in balloting by 60 major league executives. Braves general manager John Schuerholz was second with 17, followed by Twins GM Terry Ryan with 12. Nine executives received at least one vote.