Maddux leads list for NL Gold Gloves
National League squad includes five first-timers as well
It's official, Greg Maddux has cornered the market on gold.
To go along with his remarkable 347 career victories, the 41-year-old now possesses the most Gold Glove awards in Major League history.
On Tuesday afternoon, Maddux was recognized for a record 17th time, passing Jim Kaat for the most by a pitcher. Brooks Robinson has the most Gold Gloves by a position player. The Hall of Fame third baseman also won 16.
Maddux's achievement highlights the National League's Rawlings Gold Glove Awards.
In all, 10 NL players were honored, with a fourth outfielder being selected because there was a tie in the voting process.
The veteran Maddux has had a lockdown on the award since winning his first back in 1990. The right-hander has won 17 of the last 18.
"I think, more than anything, he has great baseball instincts when it comes to fielding a ball," Padres manager Bud Black said. "When he throws a pitch, he knows where the ball is going to be hit. It's amazing to see the plays he makes but it doesn't surprise me.
"He has shown even at his age, great reflexes. I'm sure they're not like they were when he was 20, but it's not that far off."
Joining Maddux with his 10th consecutive Gold Glove Award is Atlanta Braves outfielder Andruw Jones. The way Jones sees it, No. 10 is as thrilling as his first honor.
"It's always an honor to get this award," Jones said. "This one feels as good as the first and second ones. It doesn't matter how many you get. They're all special."
Other multiple winners in the NL are Chicago Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee (three), Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Orlando Hudson (three) and New York Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran (two).
The National League squad includes five first-time winners: Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Russell Martin, Mets third baseman David Wright, Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, Braves outfielder Jeff Francoeur and Phillies outfielder Aaron Rowand. Francoeur and Rowand finished tied in the voting.
The Mets, Braves and Phillies each had two winners in the 51st year of the Gold Glove Awards.
|2007 Gold Glove winners|
|C||Ivan Rodriguez, DET|
|1B||Kevin Youkilis, BOS|
|2B||Placido Polanco, DET|
|3B||Adrian Beltre, SEA|
|SS||Orlando Cabrera, LAA|
|OF||Ichiro Suzuki, SEA|
|OF||Torii Hunter, MIN|
|OF||Grady Sizemore, CLE|
|P||Johan Santana, MIN|
|C||Russell Martin, LAD|
|1B||Derrek Lee, CHC|
|2B||Orlando Hudson, ARI|
|3B||David Wright, NYM|
|SS||Jimmy Rollins, PHI|
|OF||Carlos Beltran, NYM|
|OF||Andruw Jones, ATL|
|OF||Jeff Francoeur, ATL|
|OF||Aaron Rowand, PHI|
|P||Greg Maddux, SD|
Established in 1957, the first Rawlings Gold Gloves were given to one player at each position, regardless of which league. But since 1958, winners were selected at each of the nine fielding positions in both the National and American Leagues. The concept for recognizing the top fielders at each position was the brainstorm of Elmer Blasco, the Rawlings Sporting Goods public relations/sales manager. In 1956, Blasco took a Spring Training survey and found out 83 percent of MLB regulars used the Rawlings label.
At the time, Hillerich & Bradsby, the Major League's leading baseball bat supplier, awarded "Silver Bats" to the game's top hitters. Blasco sold the argument that Rawlings should sponsor fielding awards.
After his idea was accepted by Rawlings' management, Blasco contacted the Brown Shoe Company of St. Louis and obtained from them a hide of gold lame-tanned leather used to make ladies formal slippers. A glove was crafted from the hide, laced and stamped as a regular fielder's glove, and attached to a metal fixture on a walnut base with an engraved plate. Thus was born the Gold Glove Award.
The Oct. 2, 1957, edition of The Sporting News featured a full-page announcement: "Recognizing the importance of superior individual fielding performance to the advancement of baseball as America's national game, Rawlings has established the annual Gold Glove Awards beginning with the '57 season."
A committee selected by The Sporting News voted from 1957-64; MLB managers and coaches took over the voting responsibility in 1965.
Maddux has dominated the award among NL pitchers like no other player. In 198 innings this past season, the veteran committed just one error in 71 chances, good for a .986 fielding percentage.
Of his 17 total awards, Maddux won 10 with the Braves, five with the Cubs, one with the Dodgers and now one with the Padres.
Jones' 10th Gold Glove moves him within two of the most by an outfielder. Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente each claimed 12, while Ken Griffey Jr. and Al Kaline also had 10.
Jones and Rowand shared the highest fielding percentages (.995) for NL center fielders. They each committed two errors.
"I take a lot of pride in playing defense," Rowand said. "To be recognized by the managers and coaches -- the people that watch you every day -- is the greatest compliment I can get."
Beltran, meanwhile, made five errors and posted a .988 percentage as he takes home gold for the second consecutive year.
"I really take pride in my defense and I try to keep improving and improving each season." Beltran said. "It's nice to be recognized for your hard work."
In right field, Francoeur is a force in the field, possessing one of the best throwing arms in the game, as evident by his 19 outfield assists.
The combination of Jones in center and Francoeur in right made the Braves outfield one of the best in the game.
"You don't see two outfielders from the same team get [Gold Gloves in] the same year too often," said Jones, who has filed for free agency and will not return to Atlanta. "I'm just really happy for [Francoeur]. He worked hard to get better and he deserved it. I'm going to miss playing with him."
At first base, Lee returned to his pattern of winning a Gold Glove every other season. The rangy Cubs first baseman won it in 2005, and before that in 2003, he collected his first honor when he then played for the Florida Marlins.
In 147 games, Lee made seven errors and he had a .994 fielding percentage. He was the choice of the coaches and managers over Todd Helton of the Colorado Rockies, who made just two errors and boasted a .999 fielding percentage.
The slick-fielding Hudson has now won back-to-back Gold Gloves in Arizona, and three in a row when you count his 2005 honor while he was with the Toronto Blue Jays. Hudson played in 137 games, but his season was cut short by a torn left thumb ligament, which required surgery.
Two of the first-time Gold Glove winners are also MVP candidates. Rollins was the spark plug who is widely considered a prime reason the Phillies overtook the Mets for the NL East crown.
Defensively, the athletic Rollins had a .985 percentage, committing just 11 errors in 1,441 1/3 innings, the most innings played of any NL shortstop.
"[Rollins'] value is hard to explain," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said in September. "He's been that good for us. He plays every day and that takes a special player. He has all the credentials to be the MVP.
"The position he plays and the way he plays it is very important. Everything filters around him. He's the guy that sets our offense and he's the guy that sparks our defense."
The all-around play of Wright made him New York's most dependable regular, and in the field, he logged 1,418 1/3 innings and had a .954 fielding percentage.
"I'd like to be known," Wright said, "as a player who does everything above average. And I think going 30-30 would be an indication that I do at least two things well."
Behind the plate, Martin has become the class of NL catchers. Not only is he a standout offensively, he is a workhorse defensively. He paced all NL catchers by appearing in 145 games and he saw action in 1,254 innings, while pacing all Major League catchers by throwing out 41 runners trying to steal.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. MLB.com reporters Corey Brock, Mark Bowman, Marty Noble and Ken Mandel contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.