Molina, Wainwright nab Gold Gloves
Back-to-back awards for Cards catcher; hurler wins first
ST. LOUIS -- As few mistakes as Adam Wainwright made on the mound in 2009, he made even fewer in the field. As a result, the Cardinals right-hander won his first Gold Glove on Wednesday, joining batterymate Yadier Molina in bringing home the hardware.
Wainwright, a favorite to win the National League Cy Young Award when it is announced next week, was not charged with an error in 2009. He tied teammate Joel Pineiro for the league lead with 27 putouts, tied for 16th with 29 assists and tied for fifth with 56 total chances.
"[I'm] very surprised," Wainwright said on a conference call. "I would have thought if there was one award that I would never win, or never have a chance to win, that would be a Gold Glove Award. So I'm super surprised. I'm also very, very excited.
Pineiro was considered the more likely winner within the Cardinals' clubhouse, but Wainwright's dream season continued instead.
Molina, meanwhile, won for the second consecutive year, and he could be settling in for a long stint as the NL's reigning Gold Glover behind the plate. He threw out nearly 41 percent of would-be basestealers, the best among NL catchers who caught at least 90 games.
He also shepherded a pitching staff that rated fourth in the NL in ERA. Molina has long had a reputation as perhaps the finest defensive catcher in the game, and he's building up the hardware to match the perception.
"As many accolades as I can share with Yadier, the better," Wainwright said. "He's someone I've gotten to share a couple special things with, and he's a close friend. He's very important to our team and a great teammate. So those kinds of things are awesome. We can always look back and say, 'Man, remember when we did that?' So I'm very excited that Yadier got the award, too. There's not a more deserving person than Yadier."
Two other Cardinals who appeared to have cases were shut out. Shortstop Brendan Ryan lost out to defending winner Jimmy Rollins, while Adrian Gonzalez finished ahead of Albert Pujols in the voting at first base. Managers and coaches vote on Gold Gloves.
Wainwright is the third Cardinals pitcher to win a Gold Glove Award, and the first since Bob Gibson won the last of his nine awards in 1973. The way was cleared for him with the retirement of Hall of Fame-bound right-hander Greg Maddux, who won 18 of the last 19 NL pitching Gold Gloves. Wainwright, who grew up in Georgia as an Atlanta Braves fan, counts Maddux as a childhood hero.
Molina joins Mike Matheny and Tom Pagnozzi as catchers who won multiple Gold Gloves with the Cardinals. Molina becomes the 23rd player in Major League history to win more than one catching Gold Glove.
It's the first time since 2006 that the Cardinals have had multiple Gold Glove winners. In total, St. Louis has had multiple Gold Glovers in 26 of the 53 seasons that the awards have been given out.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.