The Rawlings Gold Glove awards have often been referred to as the Grammys of baseball by insiders, due to the fact it’s a nice award, which often doesn’t go to the correct recipient.
Since the award is voted on by managers and coaches, players often have to have some name recognition in order to receive votes. This leads to the old joke that a player “didn’t hit enough” to receive the award, since popularity in baseball is usually tied to hitting prowess.
This season was a mixed bag for the award. As some, like Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche, received their first Gold Glove after years of deserving it. Others, however, like light-hitting Seattle Mariners shortstop Brendon Ryan, seemed to fall into the hitting trap.
In the American League one of the bigger surprises was that Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim centerfielder and MVP-candidate Mike Trout was beaten out by the Baltimore Orioles’ Adam Jones. Many felt Trout was the superior outfielder and he would be a shoo-in for the award given his record-setting season.
Another Oriole-related surprise was that three Orioles came home with a Gold Glove last night. In addition to Jones, shortstop JJ Hardy, and catcher Matt Wieters won the award. While each is not surprising on its own, the Orioles defense is not thought of as a top defense, so it is a bit surprising to see the large number of award winners from them.
The only other team with multiple winners was the New York Yankees, with the entire right side of their infield winning. First baseman Mark Teixeira has long been considered a top defenseman, and second baseman Robinson Cano was an easy choice for his second Gold Glove.
Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre won his fourth Gold Glove in six years. Known for his superb defense many quipped that they should just name the award after him.
Rounding out the American League winners was Oakland Athletics and Kansas City Royals outfielders Josh Reddick and Alex Gordon in right and left field respectively. Two players, Chicago White Sox’s Jake Peavy and the Tampa Bay Rays’ Jeremy Hellickson, also tied for the award at pitcher.
In the National League, five players picked up their first career Gold Glove. Only Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins (four), Miami Marlins pitcher Mark Buehrle (four), and St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (five) had won the award more than twice before.
With the recognition, Buehrle also became just the third pitcher in Major League Baseball history to win a Gold Glove in both leagues after his previous three trophies with the White Sox.
There were very few surprises in the National League. Of mild surprise was San Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley winning over two-time winner David Wright, as well as light-hitting Chicago Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney winning over more popular names.
In the outfield, Pittsburgh Pirates star-centerfielder Andrew McCutchen came home with the Gold Glove, while Atlanta Braves-phenom Jayson Heyward demonstrated the improvements he has made in the field by snagging one as well.
Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies rounded out both the outfield and the multiple-award recipients with his second Gold Glove. Many feel, however, the award should have gone to either the Milwaukee Brewers’ Ryan Braun or Atlanta Braves’ Martin Prado.
While there will be debates to come about who truly deserved to win and who was snubbed, all of the recipients were some of the best fielders at their respective positions. While the Gold Gloves may be made fun of at times, this season, the voters got it right. Mostly.