As part of the Rawlings’ Gold Glove Show on Tuesday night, the company’s 60th anniversary teams were announced.
Baltimore was well represented in the American League.
Brooks Robinson, of course, was named as the AL’s best defensive third baseman in the past 60 years. The winner at second base was Roberto Alomar, who went into the Hall of Fame as a Toronto Blue Jay but spent three seasons with the Orioles demonstrating his tremendous defense at Camden Yards.
The best defensive right fielder in the AL, according to Rawlings, is Baltimore native Al Kaline, who starred with the Detroit Tigers.
And one of the commentators during the show was Mark Teixeira, a tremendous defensive first baseman who grew up in Severna Park and talked about the legend of Robinson in Charm City.
In the National League, Philadelphia’s Mike Schmidt was named the top defensive third baseman of the past 60 years.
That made me smile.
When I went to college in Pennsylvania, the No. 1 debate I had with my Keystone State baseball buddies was, “Who was the best third baseman ever, Schmidt, a 10-time Gold Glove winner or Robinson, who won the award 16 times?”
The Pennsylvania guys would gang up on me and proclaim that because Schmidt was clearly the better hitter and also a tremendous fielder, he had to be considered baseball’s greatest third baseman.
I, however, always had a comeback: If Schmidt were a teammate of Robinson’s during their primes, there is no question in my mind Schmidt would go down as one of the greatest left fielders in baseball history. Enough said.
Was Machado robbed of the Gold Glove?
Orioles third baseman Manny Machado failed to win his third career Gold Glove on Tuesday, losing out to Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria, who is now a three-time winner.
No question Longoria is a great defender. When Machado was learning the position in 2012, he studied film of Longoria and last year’s Gold Glove winner, Adrian Beltre.
And some defensive metrics, such as defensive runs saved, favored Longoria this year. But Longoria is 32. He last won a Gold Glove after his age 24 season.
Machado is 25 now. And though Longoria may be steadier, he’s not close to Machado when it comes to rage and degree of difficulty in play-making. That’s just the way body works. Nothing against Longoria, but he simply doesn’t get to as many balls as Machado. So, I’m not really sure it’s fair that Machado gets penalized for making mistakes on plays that few other third baseman reach. That’s how I interpret these results, though.
Mancini’s chances at Rookie of the Year
It’s definitely an honor for left fielder Trey Mancini to be named among the three finalists in AL Rookie of the Year this season.
It’s a rarity these days in Baltimore.
The Orioles haven’t had a player receive any votes for AL Rookie since 2013 (Wei-Yin Chen), haven’t had a Top 3 finalist since 2004 (Daniel Cabrera), a runner-up since 2002 (Rodrigo Lopez) and a winner since 1989 (Gregg Olson).
Well, that streak of seasons without a Rookie of the Year winner is sure to continue. Mancini even joked about it with me this year. He said he definitely picked the wrong season to be a rookie thanks to New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, who should be a unanimous winner after leading the American League in homers. In what was meant as a true compliment, Mancini referred to Judge as “ridiculous,” this year. And Judge was.
Boston’s Andrew Benintendi likely will finish second in the ROY race, partially because Mancini flew under the national radar for most of the season. And this offseason, too, apparently.
USA Today, in listing the award finalists this week, had Mancini as a first baseman, a position he started 35 times this year compared to 85 starts in left field. Oh well, I guess that’s picking nits.
We’ll all learn the inevitable (Judge’s victory) Monday when the Rookie of the Year awards are announced.
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