Rawlings Gold Glove Award
Flickr user Ken N
The Rawlings Gold Glove Award, usually referred to as the Gold Glove, is the award given annually to the Major League Baseball players judged to have exhibited superior individual fielding performances at each fielding position in both the National League (NL) and the American League (AL), as voted by the managers and coaches in each league. Managers are not permitted to vote for their own players. Eighteen Gold Gloves are awarded each year (with the exception of 1957, 1985 and 2007), one at each of the nine positions in each league. In 1957, the baseball glove manufacturer Rawlings created the Gold Glove Award to commemorate the best fielding performance at each position. The award was created from a glove made from gold lamé-tanned leather and affixed to a walnut base. Initially, only one Gold Glove per position was awarded to the top fielder at each position in Major League Baseball; however, separate awards were given for the National and American Leagues beginning in 1958.
The phrase "at each position" is not strictly accurate. As with the Silver Slugger Award, the prize is presented to outfielders irrespective of their specific position. This means that it is possible for three center fielders, or any other combination of outfielders, to win the award in the same year, rather than one left fielder, one center fielder, and one right fielder. Critics have called for awarding a single Gold Glove for each individual outfield position, arguing that the three outfield positions are not equivalent defensively. In the 1985 American League voting, a tie for third place resulted in the presentation of Gold Glove Awards to four outfielders (Dwayne Murphy, Gary Pettis, Dwight Evans and Dave Winfield); this scenario was repeated in the National League in 2007 (Andruw Jones, Carlos Beltrán, Aaron Rowand, and Jeff Francoeur).
The Boston Globe writer Peter Abraham said the Fielding Bible Awards "are far more accurate (and accountable)" than the Gold Glove awards since statistics are used along with the opinions of an expert panel. The Gold Gloves are selected by managers and coaches that may have seen a player as few as six times during the season. Bill Chuck of Comcast SportsNet New England wrote that Gold Glove voters frequently counted only errors to determine winners. Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times said the votes for the Gold Gloves rely largely on a player's past reputation. The Associated Press wrote that "some fans have viewed the Gold Gloves as mostly a popularity contest, even suggesting that a player's performance at the plate helped draw extra attention to his glove." After winning the AL Gold Glove at first base in both 1997 and 1998, Rafael Palmeiro won again in 1999 with the Texas Rangers while only appearing in 28 games as a first baseman; he played in 128 games as a designated hitter that season, resulting in a controversy. Derek Jeter, winner of multiple Gold Gloves, believes that many defensive factors cannot be quantified.
The most Gold Gloves ever won by one player is 18 by pitcher Greg Maddux. He won 13 consecutive awards from 1990 to 2002, all in the National League. Brooks Robinson has the most wins as a third baseman, with 16 Gold Gloves, and is tied for the second-highest total overall with pitcher Jim Kaat, who won his 16 awards consecutively. Iván Rodríguez has won the most Gold Gloves as a catcher, with 13 career awards in the American League. Ozzie Smith has 13 wins at shortstop; he and Rodríguez are tied for the fourth-highest total among all winners. Among outfielders, Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays, who played primarily right field and center field, respectively, are tied for the lead with 12 Gold Gloves. Keith Hernandez, the leader at first base, has won 11 times, and Roberto Alomar leads second basemen with 10 wins. Other players with 10 or more wins include shortstop Omar Vizquel (11), catcher Johnny Bench (10), third baseman Mike Schmidt (10), and outfielders Ken Griffey, Jr., Ichiro Suzuki, Andruw Jones, and Al Kaline (10 each).
The only player ever to win Gold Gloves as an infielder and outfielder is Darin Erstad, who won Gold Gloves as an outfielder in 2000 and 2002 and as a first baseman in 2004, all with the Anaheim Angels. Family pairs to win Gold Gloves include brothers Ken and Clete Boyer (third base), brothers Bengie and Yadier Molina (catcher), father and son Bobby and Barry Bonds (outfield), and father and son Bob (catcher) and Bret Boone (second base).
All-time Gold Glove Team
On February 20, 2007, Major League Baseball and Rawlings announced that an all-time Gold Glove Team would be named during the 50th anniversary of the first Gold Glove Awards. Rawlings asked 70 baseball reporters, former players and former managers to select 50 names for the ballot, from an initial selection of 250 names. The team was selected by fans, who voted at the Rawlings Gold Glove website, at United States Postal Service offices, and at sporting goods stores. The results were announced at the 2007 Major League Baseball All-Star Game
|First base||Wes Parker|
|Second base||Joe Morgan|
|Third base||Brooks Robinson|
|Ken Griffey, Jr.|
Middle infield duos
In the history of the Gold Glove Award, there have been ten double-play combinations, or pairs of middle infielders, that have won awards in the same year. Shortstops and second basemen depend upon each other for the majority of double plays. The most common type of double play occurs with a runner on first base and a ground ball hit towards the middle of the infield. The player fielding the ball (generally the shortstop or second baseman) throws to the fielder covering second base, who steps on the base before the runner from first arrives to force that runner out, and then throws the ball to the first baseman to force out the batter for the second out. Mark Belanger won four Gold Gloves with the Baltimore Orioles alongside winning partner Bobby Grich, and Joe Morgan paired with Dave Concepción for four combination wins with the Cincinnati Reds. The most recent teammates to accomplish the feat are Derek Jeter and Robinson Canó, who won with the New York Yankees in 2010.
|Shortstop||Second baseman||Team||Times won||Years|
|Luis Aparicio||Nellie Fox||Chicago White Sox||2||1959–1960|
|Gene Alley||Bill Mazeroski||Pittsburgh Pirates||2||1966–1967|
|Jim Fregosi||Bobby Knoop||California Angels||1||1967|
|Mark Belanger||Davey Johnson||Baltimore Orioles||2||1969, 1971|
|Mark Belanger||Bobby Grich||Baltimore Orioles||4||1973–1976|
|Dave Concepción||Joe Morgan||Cincinnati Reds||4||1974–1977|
|Alan Trammell||Lou Whitaker||Detroit Tigers||2||1983–1984|
|Omar Vizquel||Roberto Alomar||Cleveland Indians||3||1999–2001|
|Edgar Rentería||Fernando Viña||St. Louis Cardinals||1||2002|
|Derek Jeter||Robinson Canó||New York Yankees||1||2010|
Since 1957, there have been five Gold Glove batteries. The pitcher and catcher, collectively known as the battery, are the only two players on the field involved in every pitch. In particular, the pitcher and catcher control the running game with tools such as pickoffs or the strength of the catcher's throwing arm. The first pitcher and catcher on the same team to win Gold Gloves in the same year were Jim Kaat and Earl Battey, with the Minnesota Twins in 1962. Only one pair of batterymates has won Gold Gloves together more than once: Iván Rodríguez and Kenny Rogers won with the Texas Rangers in 2000, and again with the Detroit Tigers in 2006. The most recent pair to win are Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright (2009 St. Louis Cardinals).
|Jim Kaat||Earl Battey||Minnesota Twins||1||1962|
|Rick Reuschel||Tony Peña||Pittsburgh Pirates||1||1985|
|Bret Saberhagen||Bob Boone||Kansas City Royals||1||1989|
|Kenny Rogers||Iván Rodríguez||Texas Rangers||2||2000|
|Adam Wainwright||Yadier Molina||St. Louis Cardinals||1||2009|