Major League Baseball handed out its annual Gold Glove Awards Tuesday night and while I was excited to see one of my favorite players win one (Josh Reddick of the Oakland A’s), I do not put much stock in the award itself.
The history of my dislike for the award dates back to 1999 when Rafael Palmeiro won the award at first base for the Texas Rangers despite the fact that he only played 28 games at first base. The rest of his season (128 games worth) was spent as the Rangers’ designated hitter.
The award is supposed to be for the best fielding player at each position. So how does a player who plays on 28 of 156 games in the field win such an award?
In 2006 Major League Baseball further proved how worthless the Gold Glove Award was when Oakland A’s second baseman Mark Ellis was snubbed. Ellis committed just two errors in 632 chances all season to set the single season record for best fielding percentage by a second baseman with a mark of .99685.
But Ellis did not win a Gold Glove in 2006. Instead the award went to Kansas City’s Mark Grudzielanek. Grudzielanek committed four errors that season which was twice as many as Ellis.
Earlier this week, Mike Trout won the 2012 centerfield Fielding Bible Award. Trout committed only four errors all season long with two of them coming in centerfield, one came in right field and one in left field. The Fielding Bible Awards are given to one player per position regardless of league whereas the Gold Glove Awards go to one player in each league.
Now, here we are in 2012 and once again deserving players are being snubbed. This year the American League’s centerfield Gold Glove award went to Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles. Jones had a fine year as he committed just 8 errors in 454 chances, but he was nowhere near the defender that Mike Trout was. Trout robbed so many players of would be home runs this year it was amazing. It seemed like Trout was being shown robbing some player at least once a week on the high light shows.
Over the years, it has often seemed if a player won the award, they would win it again the following season, unless they either didn’t play or had a very bad season. That is one of the reasons I believe Palmeiro won the award in 1999, because he had won it in 1997 and 1998 as well.
Last year the AL centerfield award went to Jacoby Ellsbury, but seeing as how he was injured for most of this year, he did not win again. But, Jones had won a Gold Glove Award before, winning it in 2009.
Of the 19 (there was a tie for one position) Gold Gloves handed out this year, nine of the winners were first-time winners. The first-time winners included Oakland’s Josh Reddick (right field), Baltimore’s J.J. Hardy (shortstop), San Diego’s Chase Headley (third base), Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen (center field), Washington’s Adam LaRoche (first base), Atlanta’s Jason Heyward (right field) and Chicago Cub’s Darwin Barney (second base).
Also winning it for the first time were pitchers Jake Peavy of the Chicago White Sox and Jeremy Hellickson of the Tampa Bay Rays. Peavy and Hellickson tied for the AL pitchers award.
St. Louis’ Yadier Molina was the only National League player who won the award last year to win it again this year. Molina won his fifth consecutive Gold Glove Award (as well as his 5th Fielding Bible Award). The rest of the National League winners were Colorado left fielder Carlos Gonzalez (2nd award), Philadelphia shortstop Jimmy Rollins (4th award) and Miami pitcher Mark Buehrle (4th award, but first in the NL).
In the American League, Yankee’s first baseman Mark Teixeira (5th award) and second baseman Robinson Cano (2nd award) both won as did Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre (4th award), Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters (2nd award) and Royals left fielder Alex Gordon (2nd award).
With nine Fielding Bible Awards given out, seven of those who won one, also won a Gold Glove. The only two players who failed to win matching Gold Gloves were Mike Trout and Seattle shortstop Brendan Ryan.
I will continue to enjoy seeing players on my team win Gold Glove Awards, but until the voting on Gold Glove Awards is handled differently, I won’t put much stock in them.
During the second full week of November Major League Baseball will announce the 2012 Rookies of the Year, Managers of the year, Cy Young winners, and the MVP’s and I will break down each award and winner for you.