Tampa Bay Rays 3B Evan Longoria wins Gold Glove
Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon challenged his team in spring training, saying they had plenty of players who were capable of earning a Gold Glove, and offering a lofty goal of winning nine.
The Rays didn’t complete that feat, but they did have a Gold Glove Award winner for the second straight year, as Evan Longoria won the award as the American League’s best fielding third baseman (View photo gallery). The award, announced Tuesday, makes Longoria, 24, the youngest to win an AL Gold Glove at any position since A's third baseman Eric Chavez (age 23) in 2001.
Since the Gold Glove was first awarded in 1957, only three third basemen have won it at a younger age: Brooks Robinson (age 23 in 1960) of the Baltimore Orioles, Scott Rolen (age 23 in 1998) of the Philadelphia Phillies and Chavez.
“It’s the one award that I’ve wanted to win since I started pro ball,” Longoria said. “I take a lot of pride in my
defense, so this award is very special to me. It’s humbling to have your name associated with some of the
great players who have won a Gold Glove, especially the third basemen. I would like to thank the managers and coaches who voted for me and I’d also like to thank Carlos Peña. We all know how good he is. He probably saved me at least five errors this year so without him the award might not have been possible.”
Longoria had a .970 fielding percentage, which ranked second among AL third basemen to Melvin Mora’s .971. But the two-time All-Star often made difficult plays look easy, earning admiration from managers around the league as well as former stars.
There is a Gold Glove winner at each position in each league, selected by a vote of managers and coaches in each league (however, managers can't vote for players on their own team). The only difference comes in the outfield voting, which rewards the three top fielding outfielders no matter if they play left, center or right fields.
Last year, first baseman Carlos Pena became the Rays first Gold Glove winner. There were thoughts that LF Carl Crawford had a strong chance to win his first Gold Glove after another impressive defensive season, which included All-Star MVP game honors for his leaping catch. But Ichiro Suzuki and Torii Hunter each won their ninth Gold Glove in the outfield, and Orioles CF Adam Jones picked up his first.
Here are the Rawling's American League Gold Glove Award winners:
Pitcher - Mark Buehrle, White Sox; Catcher - Joe Mauer, Twins; First Base - Mark Teixeira (Yankees); Second Base - Placido Polanco (Tigers); Third base - Evan Longoria (Rays); Shortstop - Derek Jeter (Yankees); OF - Adam Jones (Orioles), Ichiro Suzuki (Mariners), Torii Hunter (Angels)
-- JOE SMITH