Betts headlines Boston Writers Dinner attendees

Bogaerts, Bradley, Epstein and Francona also among those expected to be at event

Betts headlines Boston Writers Dinner attendees

BOSTON -- If you'd like an up-close look at some key Red Sox players before Spring Training, the 78th annual Boston Baseball Writers Dinner on Jan. 19 presents the perfect opportunity.

Along with the departure of the equipment truck from Fenway Park on Feb. 6, the dinner is an annual sign for Red Sox fans that baseball season is getting close.

This year's dinner will take place at the Boston Marriott Copley Place, with a cocktail reception beginning at 6 p.m. ET. There will be an autograph session for all children in the audience.

Fans can purchase tickets through or by calling (617) 624-1231.

The presentation of awards will include speeches and highlight videos.

Mookie Betts, fresh off finishing second in the American League Most Valuable Player Award voting, headlines a strong list of attendees. The right fielder will be recognized as Boston's MVP of 2016.

Two other cornerstones from the Red Sox's talented young core are expected to join Betts for the festivities. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts is the winner of the Jackie Jensen Hustle Award, and center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. will get the Special Achievement Award for his 29-game hitting streak that stretched from April 24-May 25.

Listen for the cheers of "Looie, Looie, Looie" when the lovable Luis Tiant receives one of the most distinguished honors of the night -- the Emil Fuchs Award, given out annually for long and meritorious service to the game. A big-game pitcher who played a key role in the epic 1975 World Series, Tiant remains a fixture around Fenway Park and on Yawkey Way.

Lefty reliever Robby Scott, who finally made it to the Major Leagues with the Red Sox after being plucked out of an independent league in 2011, is the recipient of the Lou Gorman Award.

Two fixtures from past Red Sox World Series-championship teams will also be on hand, and they're likely to get huge ovations when they are announced at the head table.

Theo Epstein, who guided the Cubs to their first championship since 1908, is being recognized by the Boston writers as the MLB Executive of the Year. Terry Francona is the choice as MLB's Manager of the Year for his work in leading the Indians all the way to Game 7 of the World Series.

Pete Frates, the former Boston College baseball captain who has courageously battled Lou Gehrig's disease, will be presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the New England Sports Museum. It was Frates who spearheaded the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014, which has raised millions in the fight against ALS.

The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo, who has covered the Red Sox for over 30 years, is this year's winner of the Dave O'Hara Award, which is awarded annually to a Boston scribe.

There's a chance other players will be able to make it to the dinner as well. Whether they are present or not, the following Red Sox award winners will also be recognized.

Pitcher of the Year/Tim Wakefield Award for Community Service: Rick Porcello
Fireman of the Year: Craig Kimbrel
Comeback Player of the Year: Hanley Ramirez
Unsung Hero: Sandy Leon
Minor League Player of the Year: Andrew Benintendi
Good Guy Award: Steven Wright

Here are the other national award winners who will be recognized as voted on by the Boston writers.

Ted Williams Award: David Ortiz, Red Sox (retired)
New England Player of the Year: Rich Hill, Dodgers
Tony Conigliaro Award: Yangervis Solarte, Padres

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.